BOULDER -- After witnessing the previous four Fairview pitchers toss complete-game wins, Jake Kearney hardly wanted to be the one to break the streak.
He planned to throw all seven innings in the Boulder National Invitational Tournament quarterfinals Saturday. He ended up going six. But that's only because the Knights instituted to tourney's eight-run rule in an 11-3 home win against Cherokee Trail.
Another start. Another win. Another complete game.
"It's been a really good summer," said Kearney, who didn't make a varsity start but is 7-2 in Legion A competition. "I've been using my curveball a lot, mixing in pitches and just getting wins."
It has been a familiar refrain for the Knights in the tournament and throughout the summer -- unheralded pitchers in varsity play morphing into efficient arms that could guide the staff next spring.
The Knights swept through pool play 4-0 and earned the No. 2 seed behind Rocky Mountain in the quarterfinals. The semifinals and championship game are Sunday at Scott Carpenter Park. And although the Knights will play at least one of those games, they hadn't really discussed expectations entering the tournament.
"We're in the upper 40s in games, so it's kind of been just playing each day like a new day," Fairview skipper Rick Harig said. "We needed the pitchers to be efficient, they were, and the complete games are really more than we could ask for."
The Knights also made some noise at the plate against the seventh-seeded Cougars. While Kearney walked none and allowed zero earned runs, Fairview batters were busy drawing 10 walks to complement eight hits.
Second baseman Jake Thoning went 3 for 4 with two RBIs. This is the same guy who went 0 for 15 in varsity play and now has moved into the cleanup spot.
"It drives me. I don't want to go back to that place," Thoning said. "I've just been hitting the ball hard, being a little bit more aggressive than I was in the spring."
Catcher Cannon Casey and Friday starter Blake Kitayama (who moved to first base) each drove in two runs for the Knights, whose run could fairly be labeled as unforeseen.
In addition to outfielder Tim Ryan and pitcher/third baseman Ryan Madden playing for different teams this summer, starters Steve D'Epagnier and Johnny Feauto are missing the tournament. They are competing in a national 7-on-7 tournament with the Fairview football team.
The Knights did have the advantage of recently returning from a challenging tournament in Rapid City, S.D.
"Cameron (Frazier) asked why we always play so well in this tournament," Harig said. "We're always getting back from Rapid City which is very high-level. We stepped up our game to compete with those teams and it's still carrying through."
The Knights now will go back to the way they started the tournament, with Wednesday starters Mike Vlasity and Ryan Kokora likely to return to the mound. If it turns into a two-game situation, anyone and everyone could be called upon. Kearney was asked if he could gut out an inning if needed.
"I probably could," he said. "I kept my pitch count decently low. I could probably throw a little bit."
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Fairview 11, Cherokee Trail 3
At Fairview H.S.
Cherokee Trail 102 000 -- 3 9 3
Fairview 320 204 -- 11 8 3
W -- Kearney. L -- Wilie.
Cherokee Trail hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Penney 4-1-3-0, Piachek 3-0-0-0, Grasser 3-0-1-1, Picchione 3-0-0-0, Leisge 3-1-1-0, Waner 3-1-1-0, Light 3-0-0-0, Lynch 3-0-1-0, Woody 0-0-0-0, Bohannon 3-0-2-0. Totals 28-3-9-1. 2B -- Penney.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Frazier 2-2-0-0, Harris 2-2-0-1, Clarke 3-2-1-1, Thoning 4-2-3-2, Katz 2-0-1-1, Casey 2-0-1-2, Thorvilson 0-1-0-0, Kearney 4-1-1-1, Kitayama 3-0-1-2, Munson 2-1-0-0. Totals 24-11-8-10. SB -- Frazier, Katz, Munson.
Cherokee Trail pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Wilie 1-3-5-5-5-1, MacIntosh 2.1-2-2-0-3-1, Bohannon 2.1-3-4-4-2-4.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Kearney 6-9-3-0-0-5.