WHEAT RIDGE — When the Fairview Legion A baseball team hit the sun-baked diamond on Saturday morning, it would have been understandable if the Knights felt as if the unfamiliar confines at Everitt Middle School in Wheat Ridge constituted a home game.
With the rapid pace in which the Knights are racking up traveling miles this summer, such a short trip might have felt like a relief.
Just two days after returning from a tournament in Omaha where they split four games, Fairview was able to take advantage of Wheat Ridge’s erratic pitching and sloppy defense to post a 13-2 victory in five innings.
However, the team’s return home will be brief. This week, the Knights will travel to Canon City for a pair of league games on Monday. On Thursday, they will travel to Rapid City, South Dakota, where Fairview will compete in a prestigious annual tournament against a handful of top programs.
“We just got back from Omaha and Canon City…that’s not a short trip,” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “That (Canon City trip) is a doubleheader that’s pretty important for league play. Then when we get back we have a really big tournament in Rapid City that we’ve been going to for like 20 years. Typically, out of the eight teams, maybe three of them win their state or region.”
Harig, whose club finished 8-10 during the high school season behind a young roster, said the demands of the hectic schedule, combined with the challenge of the top-end competition, already is paying dividends.
“The team there out of Montana wins their state almost every year. Rapid City usually wins their state or wins regional,” Harig said. “Usually there’s one other team in there that’s also tough. It’s a really high-quality tournament, a really good town with a good minor league ballpark. And when you play that home team, you’ll have a couple thousand people there.
“We’ve competed well against some of the high-end competition. There’s been one or two times we didn’t compete well. We’ve been trying to have fun and play hard. Even when we don’t match up, we still expect them to. We don’t back off the theme, which is that we’re going to play hard every inning of every game.”
Although Fairview’s bats took a little time to wake up Saturday morning, the generous nature of Wheat Ridge’s pitching and defense paved the way for an easy victory.
The Knights broke open the game in the second inning, needing only one hit to plate seven runs as Fairview took advantage of four walks, a hit batter, and two Wheat Ridge errors to take control. The Knights were never threatened from there, as starting pitcher Johnny Feauto surrendered only one unearned run in three innings before giving way to Ryan Madden.
Five players recorded two RBIs for Fairview, an effort paced by catcher Cannon Casey’s 4-for-4 performance.
“They gave us an opening one inning and just jumped on it by scoring a bunch of runs,” said outfielder Walker Harris. “We got up big and were able to stay there.”
Follow Pat Rooney on Twitter: @prooney07
Fairview 13, Wheat Ridge 2
At Everitt Middle School
Fairview (11-11) 072 13—13 11 2
Wheat Ridge 001 10—2 5 4
W — Feauto. L — Garcia.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Harris 4-1-1-2, Madden 3-2-1-2, Katz 3-1-0-0, Depainger 3-1-0-2, Herndon 3-3-2-2, Thoenig 2-2-1-0, Casey 4-2-4-2, Feauto 3-1-1-1, Thorvilson 3-0-1-1. Totals 28-13-11-12. 2B — Madden. SB — Casey, Herndon.
Wheat Ridge hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Dombroski 2-0-0-0, Campbell 2-0-1-0, Kubasta 3-0-1-0, Deearlo 3-0-0-0, Ruarke 2-0-1-0, Wagoner 2-1-1-0, Harris 2-0-0-0, Sawyer 2-0-1-1, Padilla 1-1-0-0. 21-2-5-1.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Feauto 3-2-1-1-2-2; Madden 2-3-1-1-1-1.
Wheat Ridge pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Garcia 1.1-0-4-2-4-0; Campbell 3.1-9-9-6-3-1; Wagoner 0.1-1-0-0-0-1.