BOULDER — The chemistry between Legacy catcher Blake Labuda and first baseman Cale Claridge was on full display on a pinpoint pickoff in the sixth inning Tuesday afternoon at Fairview High School.
"He kind of gave me that look," Claridge said. "I threw my glove out, said I was ready and Blake just puts it on a dime."
That proved big in a tight game ... and so did Claridge's monster home run in the seventh.
Claridge followed Labuda in the lineup and broke open a one-run game with a three-run shot over the 360-foot marker on Fairview's right field wall as the Lightning beat the Knights 11-6 for their third win in four games.
Down 6-5, Fairview (4-7, 1-2 5A Front Range League) had its first batter reach in the sixth before Labuda rifled a perfectly-placed pickoff on the inside of the bag for the first out of the inning. MaCully Sehr then got the next two outs in the inning before Claridge blasted a moonshot to ignite a five-run seventh for the Lightning (5-8, 2-1).
"We had a lot of momentum because of that back pick, then we used that with his hit," Labuda said. "It was actually a hit-and-run, that he, uh, hit."
Sehr induced a double play for the first two outs in the seventh before Greysen Carter tripled and scored on an error. He closed the game forcing a groundout, ending his 3 1/3 innings of relief by allowing one unearned run.
Both teams have been forced to test the depth of their pitching staffs. A cold and wet spring is making it so teams throughout the state are needing to maneuver schedules around at a moment's notice. And because of earlier postponements in the area's baseball scene, the schedule has tightened up and rest days have been in short supply.
Fairview was playing in its third game in four days while Legacy was in its third in five. The Knights have changed their pitcher seven times in that span while the Lightning have rotated through eight spots.
With scattered showers in the forecast holding off for the teams' meeting, Fairview used three and the Lightning threw out two.
"The nice thing that we do is we have a lot of pitchers and we train a lot guys year-round," Legacy coach Ty Giordano said. "It doesn't mean everybody's going to get a chance to throw, but it's for situations like this when we try to have as many guys on staff as available as we can."
The teams traded runs in every frame through the first 2 1/2 innings as the Lightning built a 6-3 lead. Legacy starter Jackson Stapleton threw out a blank spot in the third, but the Knights pulled within 6-5 in the fourth with an RBI triple from Adam Moser and an RBI single from David Hopkins.
Thursday, Fairview will travel to Horizon and Legacy is at Boulder.
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Legacy 11, Fairview 6
At Fairview HS
Legacy 222 000 5 — 11 11 6
Fairview 210 200 1 — 6 10 1
W — Legacy Stapleton (1-1). L — Humphrey (0-2).
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Esplin 5-1-3-1, Sehr 3-2-1-1, Labuda 4-0-1-0, Claridge 4-2-2-4, Lyons 2-2-0-0, Garcia 3-2-2-0, Maestas 2-0-0-1, Anderson 2-0-0-0, Walker 4-1-1-1, Kisselman 1-0-1-2. Team 30-11-11-10. 2B —Claridge, Kisselman. HR —Claridge.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Moser 4-2-3-1, Hopkins 3-1-2-1, J. Jones 4-0-0-0, Carter 4-1-1-1, B. Jones 4-0-0-0, Humphrey 4-0-1-0, Stephens 3-2-1-0, McNice 3-0-1-0, Springer 3-0-1-1. Team 32-6-10-4. 3B —Moser, Carter. SB —Stephens.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Stapleton 3.2-7-5-1-0-3; Sehr 3.1-3-1-0-0-2.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Humphrey 1.1-2-4-4-1-2; Wildcat 1.2-3-2-2-1-0, Balaguer 4-6-5-5-0-1.