Saturday’s match-up between Boulder and Fairview may not have been the most highly touted game of the 5A Front Range League girls softball season, but whatever it lacked in anticipation it made up for in excitement.
Each team came into the game saddled with frustrating losing streaks. Fairview (1-12), who had lost eight straight, and Boulder (6-8), losers of four straight, arrived at the ballpark with little more than pride and an age old rivalry at stake.
When the final out of Boulder’s thrilling 4-3 victory was made it was clear that the game would be much more memorable to everyone involved than just a mere game at the end of a disappointing season.
” That was an exciting finish,” said Fairview coach Ryne Willis. “It’s been a back and forth season (for us) but we always seem to make it interesting and we (definitely) did that today.”
Boulder rode a 4-2 lead into the bottom half of the seventh inning thanks mostly to a strong performance from starting pitcher Raina Galbiati, who scattered just four hits over the first six innings.
What materialized in Fairview’s final at-bat was exciting enough to bring nearly every fan in attendance to the edge of their seats, each hoping their team would add yet another heap of frustration onto the backs of their chief rival in the midst of a lost season.
As the knights loaded the bases with nobody out, Galbiati’s intensity and nervousness reached new heights.
“I got a little nervous but I’m always able to remain at least somewhat confident,” she said. “I felt really good so I thought I could (get out of the tight) situation.”
Second baseman, Josie Russell, followed with a bases loaded single that plated one run but a well-executed relay throw managed to reach third base in time to nail the lead base runner, slightly stemming any momentum the Knights had collected during the frantic rally.
As the two remaining base runners reached scoring position on a double steal, Galbiati managed to regain her composure and calmly retire the final two batters, handing their biggest rival their ninth consecutive loss.
“It feels great to (beat our rivals),” said Boulder coach Susan Guegan. “It was a great finish. I think Raina pitched the best game of her life. That was the biggest highlight.”
Despite the continuation of a long losing streak, there were a few bright spots for the Knights, most notably starting pitcher Alicia Lanzoni, who pitched well in a losing effort. The four runs she limited the Panther offense to were by the far the fewest runs given up by the Knights all season.
“Lanzoni looked good (out there),” said Willis. “She filled up the zone with strikes and kept her composure. That was our biggest bright spot. We continue to do a few things well but it’s a all a process. We’re a young team and I think we have a bright future.”
Boulder will attempt to build upon this victory when the Panthers host Monarch on Monday. Fairview meanwhile, will look to break its three week dry spell when the Knights host Rocky Mountain on Tuesday.
Boulder 4, Fairview 3
At Fairview H.S.
Boulder (6-8, 2-4) 010 300 0 — 4 10 1
Fairview (1-12, 1-6) 000 200 1 — 3 7 1
W — Galbiati. L — Lanzoni.
Boulder hitting — Brock 0-4, Davis 1-3, Corkill 1-3, Webb 1-2, McCarthy 2-3, Platt 2-3, Briggs 0-2, Mensing 1-2, Galbiati 1-4, Gregorich 1-3. 2B — Mensing.
Fairview hitting — Sheridan 0-3, Perley 1-3, Englund 0-2, Hoecherl 2-3, Crouch 1-2, Flanagan 1-3, Russell 1-4, Todacheene 1-4, Morganthal 0-4.