BRIGHTON — With the center field fence posted just 367 feet from home plate, you best learn to keep the ball down if you're a pitcher playing at Brighton High's Duke White Field.
Boulder Post 10 and Fairview learned the hard way on the first day of the American Legion A Elite State Tournament, allowing a combined nine home runs in losses that sent each team to the consolation bracket.
The common denominator line for both teams in their tourney debut Wednesday was subpar pitching — Fairview also allowed 13 walks among the four pitchers the Knights used in a 22-9 loss to Rocky Mountain — and both teams fell way behind early to put pressure on their own appearances at the plate.
"Our pitching just failed us but I know they'll give us all they've got (Thursday)," Boulder Post 10 head coach Tim Kupfner said after falling to Greeley GoJo's 21-14 in the opener. "Greeley, I have to give them credit because every time we scored they got those runs back. We just couldn't catch up to them."
Boulder entered the tournament coming off a Sunday doubleheader to end the regular season, and that may have played a bit into the lack of arms. At least it showed in GoJo's hitters smacking plenty of belt-level fastballs around the field.
They scored in every inning but the seventh — getting home runs from Diego Martinez, Tanner Gettman, Joe Mondragon, Joe Kuhn and Jonathan Cowles. Two of those blasts came in the fourth when Greeley, which carries mostly graduated players, scored five runs after Boulder made it 4-2 in the bottom of the third.
Boulder's Ben Davis had five hits and scored three times in the loss and Jordan Wardell had a bases-clearing double in the eighth that made it 18-14 after the Panthers trailed as much as 18-7.
"It's tough to win a game when you give up 21 runs, and even though I liked the way we came back a couple times it just came down to pitching," Davis said, hoping his teammates can pick up the pieces for a 10 a.m. Thursday game. "Their hitters saw the balls up in the zone and took advantage. This field is small and they took advantage."
For Fairview, it was the fourth and fifth frames that proved dooming. Twelve of the Lobos' 17 total hits came between those two stanzas, and five walked batters also came around to score runs.
Tyler Highland, Kalen Hammer, John Sorenson and Cade Nelson belted home runs, and Hammer finished 3-for-3 with five runs scored.
The Knights had a few offensive highlights of their own, including a two-run homer from Will Mossa that had teammates jumping. Mossa and Sam McGill each had three hits and knocked in three runs.
However, Fairview left the bases loaded in the third and fourth innings when it was evident every chance to score needed to be capitalized on.
Fairview will get another crack in the double-elimination tournament at 1 p.m. on Thursday against the loser between host Brighton and SDBA-Elite.
American Legion A Elite State Tournament
Greeley GoJo's 21, Boulder Post 10 14
At Brighton HS
GoJo's 121 524 033 — 21 22 3
Boulder 002 300 270 — 14 17 5
W — Cowles. L — Davis.
GoJo's hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Martinez 7-3-4-3, Gettman 6-2-3-2, Mondragon 6-1-3-3, Kuhn 5-2-2-2, Chick 5-1-0-0, Zwaagstra 4-3-2-1, Mossberg 4-3-2-0, Holguin 6-3-4-0, Cowles 3-3-2-5. Totals 46-21-22-16.
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Davis 6-3-5-1, Van Haute 4-3-1-0, Stansel 1-0-0-0, Katz 4-2-2-2, Moore 6-1-2-2, Cunningham 4-1-3-3, Dinkel 5-1-1-1, Hitz 3-1-2-1, Chandler 2-0-0-0, L'Heureux 1-0-0-0, Prout 1-0-0-0, Parks 1-0-0-0, Wardell 4-2-1-3. Totals 42-14-17-13.
GoJo's pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Cowles 7-12-7-2-2-0, Donlan 0-1-3-3-1-0, Martinez 0.1-1-3-3-2-0, Lombardelli 0-0-1-1-1-0, Mudrow 1.2-3-0-0-1-2.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Davis 3-11-8-8-0-1, Van Haute 2-5-6-5-0-1, Moore 1-2-1-1-0-0, Parks 3-4-6-3-0-2.
Rocky Mountain 22, Fairview 9
Rocky Mountain 104 780 2 — 22 17 4
Fairview 000 502 2 — 9 13 4
L — Scheufele.
Rocky Mountain hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Highland 6-2-3-4, Hammer 3-5-3-2, Sorenson 3-3-1-2, Nelson 1-1-1-2, Uhrich 5-1-2-0, Lewchuck 1-0-0-0, Gendreau 3-3-3-3, Stetter 0-0-0-0, Morris 2-3-1-1, Modrano 2-0-1-0, Wagner 2-0-0-0, Heinze 1-0-0-0, Maciel 2-1-0-1, Riott 2-1-1-2, Cornell 0-0-0-0, Mata-Lloyd 5-2-1-1. Totals 38-22-17-18.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — McGill 5-2-3-3, Mossa 4-1-3-3, Carpenter 3-0-0-1, Scheufele 5-0-1-0, Erickson 4-0-2-0, Haensley 4-1-1-0, Rock 3-2-1-0, Lewitt 2-1-1-0, Futter 1-0-0-0, Dineen 1-0-0-0, Carrigan 4-2-1-2. Totals 36-9-13-9.
Rocky Mountain pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Highland 2-1-0-0-0-1, Wagner 1-2-0-0-1-0, Maciel 0.1-5-5-5-1-0, Riott 2.2-3-2-1-1-3, Sanchez 0.1-2-2-1-0-1, Mata-Lloyd 0.2-0-0-0-0-0.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Scheufele 3-3-5-5-5-2, Lewitt 1.1-8-11-7-5-3, Futter 0.2-5-4-3-0-2, Dineen 2-2-2-2-3-3.