LOVELAND — Both the Alexander Dawson and Lyons baseball teams entered Saturday’s 2A District 4 tournament as underdogs. Neither advanced, but both put forth surprising performances.
In the day’s first game, the Alexander Dawson Mustangs fell 3-0 to 2A powerhouse Resurrection Christian.
Mustangs senior Brian Litchfield, who missed most of the season with a rotator cuff injury, struck out eight over six innings in his first game back on the mound.
Saturday’s loss was a vast improvement on the Mustangs’ 13-1 and 20-4 losses to the Cougars during the regular season. It also was the first time in their four years that any of the Mustangs seniors had even gone seven full innings against the Cougars.
“We had a really solid defensive game, which is something we haven’t done against these guys,” Litchfield said. “They usually start hitting and we usually start making errors. We really cut that off today nicely and I felt had good pitching.”
Senior catcher Greg Sawers said the Mustangs played great behind Litchfield.
“That was probably one of the best games I’ve ever played with Dawson,” Sawers said. “I think that was my best season and our best season as a team. I’m glad to have coach (Mike Green) out and have a second season with him.”
Junior Matt Payne had the Mustangs’ only hit in the game, which broke up a no-hitter with two outs in the fifth inning.
Green said the Mustangs had plenty of chances to make the game closer, but just couldn’t come up with the key hits they needed.
“It was a huge game for the kids,” Green said. “Even though it doesn’t help in the win-loss column, it’s a moral victory for the program and the future. We hit the ball just as good as they did and they didn’t bounce our way. That’s baseball. We were right there with Res, and they’re a good team and a good program.”
In the second game of the day, the Lyons Lions nearly pulled off a come-from-behind victory. But they fell just short, losing 4-3 to the Dayspring Christian Eagles.
Freshman Karson Kelly allowed just two runs on five hits through a six-inning start. The young pitcher’s effort in his first playoff appearance left an impression on Kyle Dick, who is one of just two returning seniors on the roster.
“I was really impressed with Carson and his pitching, being a freshman and throwing six great innings and allowing only two runs,” said Dick, who drove in the first run of the seventh-inning rally but also took the loss in relief. “In the top of the seventh, we were down and we needed runs. I’m just proud of how our whole team performed, everybody.”
The Lions trailed 2-0 in the top of the seventh and rallied for three runs on four hits. But the Eagles scored two more runs in the bottom of the inning, ending in a suicide squeeze for the win.
Grayson Gibson, the Lions’ other returning senior, said the back-to-the-wall challenge in the seventh inning lit a fire under the young team.
“We kept fighting. We could have easily rolled over and let them take it,” said Gibson, who had three hits in the game. “I’m proud of everyone for that. It just showed how much of an underdog we are. You can kick us around but we’re going to come back and fight back.”
The Lions, who graduated nine seniors from last year’s district-championship team, had 10 hits and left 11 runners on base. Freshman catcher Bowe Herman paced the Lyons offense with two hits, including a two-RBI double.
Lions head coach Kyle Schuyler said the young players more than lived up to his expectations.
“Out of all our guys, only two of them had actually been in a playoff game before,” Schuyler said. “So the fact the they came out and handled themselves in that way, I was really pleased.”
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Resurrection Christian 3, Alexander Dawson 0
At Resurrection Christian H.S.
Alexander Dawson (6-8, 6-5) 000 000 0 — 0 1 1
Resurrection Christian (17-3, 9-0) 002 010 0 — 3 5 0
W — Boettger. L — Litchfield.
Alexander Dawson hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Sawers 1-0-0-0, Tayler 3-0-0-0, Lambert 2-0-0-0, Smith 3-0-0-0, Litchfield 3-0-0-0, Gansar 3-0-0-0, Payne 3-0-1-0, Angus 2-0-0-0, Blank 1-0-0-0. Totals 21-0-1-0.
Resurrection Christian hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Lowry 3-1-1-0, Bakersky 2-2-2-0, J. Mondt 3-0-1-0, Wallman 1-0-0-0, Richardson 2-0-1-2, Samples 3-0-0-0, Lohr 2-0-0-0, Boettger 0-0-0-0, Magnuson 3-0-0-0, Miller 2-0-0-0, L. Mondt 1-0-0-0. Totals 22-3-5-2. 2B — J. Mondt. SB — Lowry, Bakersky, Richardson, Lohr.
Alexander Dawson pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Litchfield 6-5-3-3-1-8.
Resurrection Christian pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Boettger 7-1-0-0-4-8.
Dayspring Christian 4, Lyons 3
At Resurrection Christian H.S.
Lyons (5-15, 1-10) 000 000 3 — 3 10 4
Dayspring Christian (7-10, 4-5) 000 200 2 — 4 8 1
W — Abuso. L — Dick.
Lyons hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Fesenmeyer 4-1-2-0, Gibson 4-1-3-0, Watson 4-0-0-0, Dick 3-0-2-1, Herman 4-0-2-2, Kelly 3-0-0-0, Gilman 0-0-0-0, Rodriguez 3-0-1-0, Campbell 3-0-0-0, Medina 3-1-0-0. Totals 31-3-10-3. 2B — Herman. SB — Rodriguez.
Dayspring Christian hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Abuso 2-0-2-0, Kahla 2-1-0-0, Wiseman 4-1-1-0, Bicknell 4-0-1-1, Garcia 2-1-1-0, Donoho 2-0-1-1, Stevens 0-1-0-0, Ward 3-0-1-2, Magruder 3-0-0-0, Stotts 2-0-1-0. Totals 24-4-8-2. 2B — Abuso, Garcia. SB — Garcia.
Lyons pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kelly 6-5-2-2-5-4, Dick 0-3-2-2-2-0.
Dayspring Christian pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hatton 6.1-10-3-2-1-9, Abuso 0.2-0-0-0-1-2.