LONGMONT -- With the top third and lower third of Alexander Dawson's lineup consistently getting on base, the middle of the Mustangs' order enjoyed plenty of opportunities to blow the game open.
They didn't, though. At least not until Brian Litchfield stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh, delivering a two-run double that helped lift Alexander Dawson to an 8-6 victory Monday against Longmont Christian.
The win in the Class 2A Mile High League battle gives Alexander Dawson (4-7, 4-5 conference) consecutive victories on the heels of a four-game losing streak going into the Mustangs' regular season finale against Dayspring Christian on Wednesday. Dawson will begin Class 2A district play on Saturday at Resurrection
"We had the middle of the order up (in the seventh), and the middle of the order hadn't been doing too hot in the game," Litchfield said. "I was just really trying to relax and be Zen almost, and not really think about it all that much. This is very good, because we're definitely going to need that tenacity in the playoffs. We need to be able to hang in a game and keep battling to the last inning, which is what we did today. It was good to see."
Alexander Dawson held a 5-2 lead until Longmont Christian took advantage of three Mustangs errors in the bottom of the fifth to score three runs and tie the game.
The Mustangs' seventh inning rally began when A.J. Lambert reached on a Longmont Christian error. Lambert advanced to third base on a single by starting pitcher Ryan Smith, and Smith took second on a throw to third.
Litchfield drove in both runners with a sinking line drive that went for a double. Litchfield was sacrificed to third by Kai Malowany and scored a key insurance run on a sacrifice fly by Graham Gansar, giving the Mustangs an 8-5 advantage.
Gansar played a huge role in the bottom of the seventh as well after Smith ran out of gas at the end of a solid outing. Gansar replaced Smith with no outs after the Warriors' Michael Charles cut the deficit to 8-6 on an RBI double, and he quickly recorded three consecutive outs to preserve the win.
"I'm just trying to keep the ball away from the batter in that situation," Gansar said. "A lot of times this has happened to us. We get down and because these errors we'll lose these games. And it will all be in one inning. Just coming back like that and staying focused was a great thing. We were able to win because of that."
Longmont Christian may not have needed a late rally if not for the club's shortcomings on defense. The Warriors committed four errors and misplayed several potential outs into hits, leading to a total of four unearned runs for Alexander Dawson.
It was the final game of the season for Longmont Christian, which already had been eliminated from postseason contention. The Warriors end the campaign with a 4-12 overall record and a 1-8 mark in the league.
"Four unearned runs, that was the big difference in the game," said Longmont Christian coach Bill Cowan, whose club had won two of its previous three games. "We've set goals throughout the season. The first goal we weren't going to attain, so we adjusted. They kept fighting through it all and did a good job."
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Alexander Dawson 8, Longmont Christian 6
At Sandstone Park
Alexander Dawson (4-7, 4-5) 130 100 3 -- 8 7 4
Longmont Christian (4-12, 1-8) 101 030 1 -- 6 6 4
W -- Smith. L -- Jauregui.
Alexander Dawson (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Sawers 2-3-1-0, Tailer 3-0-0-0, Lambert 4-1-2-0, Smith 3-1-1-0, Thomas 0-0-0-0, Litchfield 3-1-1-3, Malowany 3-0-0-0, Gansar 2-1-1-1, Payne 3-1-1-1, Becker 2-0-0-0, Hessel 1-0-0-0. Totals 22-8-7-5. 2B -- Lambert 2, Litchfield. 3B -- Gansar, Payne. SB -- Sawers 2, Litchfield, Gansar, Thomas.
Longmont Christian (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Cowan 2-4-2-0, Charles 4-1-2-2, Dick 4-1-1-2, Dahl 4-0-0-0, Jauregui 4-0-1-0, Liske 2-0-0-0, Bolyard 3-0-0-0, Hamilton 3-0-0-0, Wherli 3-0-0-0. Totals 29-6-6-4. 2B -- Charles. SB -- Cowan 4, Charles 2.
Alexander Dawson (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Smith 6-6-6-5-3-6; Gansar 1-0-0-0-0-1.
Longmont Christian (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Dick 4-5-5-3-4-6; Jauregui 3-2-3-2-0-1.