BROOMFIELD - It began oddly, then ended in gut-wrenching style.
In Legacy's first meeting with Mullen in coach Ty Giordano's eight years, a 5-4 setback to the visiting Mustangs on a pleasant Saturday will have to serve as a send-off to Arizona as spring break occurs this week.
Now 1-1, Lightning players and staff can point to assorted foibles for their first loss in 2017, one that included leaving the tying run at third base and the winning run at second, but there are no excuses.
"Offensively, we just put too many balls in the air today," Giordano said. "And you have to give credit to (the Mustangs') pitching."
Plus, the coach said, "we didn't put enough runs on the board."
The Lightning never led. In junior right-hander Ross Smith's first career start, he gave up three first-inning runs on two hits, two walks, a sacrifice fly and an unusual three balks. Yes, three balks.
"It made for a rough inning," Giordano said.
Smith said umpires told him he hadn't gained ground when throwing to first base and didn't come set on the others. "It was a learning experience," Smith said.
Plus, the Lightning couldn't do much with left-handed starter and winner Reggie Parris, a junior, who gave up just a single and a walk through five innings.
In climbing within 3-2 in the sixth, on a hit batter, a single by Bradon O'Connor and a two-run double by Colby Deaville, the Lighting fell further back in the seventh on Rocco Porreco's third hit, a single, and a two-run home run to right-center field by first baseman Henry Haen.
Mullen coach Vince Porreco, who said afterward that "we tried to give it away," was nearly correct - Legacy loaded the bases with two outs on a walk to Josh Kelnhofer, a hit batsman and a bunt single by John Coogan, but following a walk to O'Connor that scored a run, Mustangs reliever Justice Lobo-Lucio fanned Deaville to end it and give the Mustangs (1-3), a final-four team and co-Centennial League champions a year ago, their first victory.
Giordano, who coached against Vince Porreco (formerly at Metro State) while serving as an assistant at Regis as well as while playing at Denver, reiterated his guys have some work to do and are willing to do it.
"Everything's a judgment call," he said concerning the balks. "Balks are always hard (to call). The umpires see what they see, the coaches see what they see and that's certainly not to put it on the umpires. In my opinion, we didn't put enough runs up on the board."
Through two games, he said he has gotten a sense of character from his group "and we did better as the game went on."
The Lightning are headed to Phoenix for a four-game slate in the Greenway Festival that will be dominated by locals. Brighton, Boulder, Discovery Canyon, Evergreen, Faith Christian, Lakewood, Littleton, Mountain Range and Woodland Park will join Legacy. In addition to Arizona, California, Illinois and Oregon also will be represented.
Mullen 5, Legacy 4
Mullen300 000 2 — 5 9 1
Legacy000 002 2 — 4 4 0
W — Mullen:Parris. L — Smith.
Mullen hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — M. Salvato 2b 3-1-0-0, J. Salvato ss 4-0-0-0, Barr lf 3-0-0-1, Porreco 3b 4-2-3-0, Haen 1b 3-2-2-2, Burke 1b 0-0-0-0, Elges rf 3-0-1-1, Nolte dh 4-0-0-0, Salas c 2-0-1-0, Bielat cr 0-0-0-0, Lobo-Lucio cf-p 3-0-2-0, Parris p 0-0-0-0. Totals 30-5-9-4. 2B —Haen, Porreco. HR —Haen, one on in seventh. SB —Bielat.
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — O'Connor cf 3-1-1-1, Deaville ss 4-0-1-2, Overboe 1b 3-0-0-0, Smith p-rf 3-0-0-0, Kanhofer 3b 1-1-0-0, Daugherty 2b 2-1-0-0, McAninch rf-lf 2-0-0-0, Hall ph 1-0-0-0, Ja. Coogan c 3-0-1-0, Jo. Coogan lf 2-0-1-0, Jaramillo p 0-0-0-0, Sehr cr 0-1-0-0. Totals 24-4-4-3. 2B — Deaville. SB —Kanhofer.
Mullen pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Parris (6-3-2-2-1-4), Lobo-Lucio 1-1-2-2-2-3).
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Smith (3.1-5-3-3-3-1), Jaramillo (3.2-5-2-2-1-0).