You know it's a weird day at the ball park when your starting pitcher gives up an earned run without giving up a hit, and when you get a run out of one of your players who struck out.
But, you also know it's a good day at the ball park when you get a win, and that's what Fairview was able to accomplish for the second time this season on Tuesday afternoon against Prairie View.
After whipping Northglenn in its only other game to date, Fairview was challenged to a 4-2 decision at the FHS field by the ThunderHawks. The game was not as clean, however, as the score might indicate.
True, senior Matt Erickson will be able to claim that he went five hitless innings against Prairie View. But he struggled with command throughout his time, walking four and hitting seven batters while also striking out nine. In other words, he got himself out of jams just as quickly as he got himself in them.
But to his teammates and to his coach, working through things without the snowball effect was big for the team.
"One thing that we were focusing on this game was mental toughness ... and Matt struggled a bit coming out but I just told him to trust his stuff because I know he's a good pitcher, a Division I pitcher," said senior Danny Sheridan, who was solid at shortstop and contributed two run-scoring hits in the game. "It's really about trusting ourselves and each other. We're a good team, we're all seniors and sometimes you just get in your own head. We're always playing for each other."
"Matt's known for his perseverance, and he's not going to back down even on a day when he was a little off," said Fairview head coach David Castillo. "It's early and there are a lot of guys getting the cobwebs out so there's no panic there."
Erickson and the Knights started well, as he struck out three in the top of the first and then saw his teammates produce a run with a Stone Streeter single and a Sheridan double with two outs.
Fairview kept its 1-0 lead with the help of a Prairie View blunder on the base paths — catcher Sam McGill tagged Nick Hackney out at home on a botched squeeze attempt — but the Thunderhawks (0-5) were able to tie the game 1-1 on a sequence of three hit batters and a walk in the third.
The Knights struck right back, getting a hard hit ball off the bat of Tyler Carpenter to score Streeter and then another Sheridan single got Carpenter home to make it 3-1.
Fairview added a fourth run in the sixth inning when Hunter Owens came around to score after initially getting on base with a dropped third strike, and the Knights held on with Skyler Limber pitching the final two innings for a save.
"It was good to be in a tight situation because we've been trying to simulate things in our intersquad stuff and it's just nice to see it against another team," Castillo said. "It came down to having to make some good defensive plays at the end."
The Knights have a slower schedule to start the season but the team will pick up the pace during spring break with four games in Arizona.
Fairview 4, Prairie View 2
At Fairview HS
Prairie View001 000 1 — 2 2 1
Fairview102 001 x — 4 6 0
W — Erickson (2-0). L — Perez. S — Limber.
Prairie View hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Skinner 3-1-0-0, Lucero 2-1-0-0, Sanchez 2-0-1-0, Baldizan 3-0-1-0, Hackney 1-0-0-2, Tavenner 3-0-0-0, Farley 3-0-0-0, Vargas 2-0-0-0, Perez 3-0-0-0. Totals 22-2-2-2. SB — Skinner, Tavenner, Farley, Vargas.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Mossa 3-0-1-0, Streeter 3-2-1-0, Carpenter 2-1-1-1, Sheridan 3-0-2-2, Owens 3-1-0-0, McGill 3-0-0-0, Haensly 2-0-1-0, Rock 1-0-0-1, Lewitt 3-0-0-0. Totals 23-4-6-4. 2B — Sheridan.
Prairie View pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Perez 6-6-4-2-1-3.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Erickson 5-0-1-1-4-9, Limber 2-2-1-1-1-0.