BOULDER — It wasn’t as if Fairview couldn’t get its bats going. The Knights just couldn’t keep them going when it mattered most.
Fairview, which hosted Mountain Range on Friday afternoon for a Legion A game that changed locales on Thursday due to issues with Mountain Range’s field, fell behind early and could not produce a key hit when it mattered most as Mountain Range held on for a 6-3 victory.
Fairview left only six runners on base in the seven-inning affair, but five of those were left stranded in scoring position.
“We fell behind and we started pressing a bit, I think” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “You have to give them credit — they did all the right things hanging in there, and they beat us.”
Fairview cranked out nine hits, recording three doubles and four stolen bases, but all too often the Knights squandered their scoring opportunities.
Mountain Range ambushed Knights starter Jeremy Katz out of the gate, taking a 3-0 lead on a line drive home run to left by outfielder Matt Maestas. Although the Mustangs’ bats cooled from there, they took advantage of a walk, a balk, and a throwing error on a squeeze play to add three more runs in the third.
Ryan Madden replaced Katz to begin the fourth inning and kept the Knights in the game, allowing only two hits and no runs over the final four innings.
“(Madden) gave us a chance. He kept more zeroes coming up on the board,” Harig said. “We just had opportunities, left guys on base. That’s baseball. I think it was a combination. That first inning was kind of a hot start (for Mountain Range). That next time they got the runs with a little push-along from us. Definitely we were digging ourselves down, but I felt the whole time we were capable of coming back.”
Fairview very nearly did come back, getting consecutive RBI doubles from Walker Harris and Cameron Frazier in the third before an RBI single from Johnny Feauto trimmed Mountain Range’s lead to 6-3 after the fourth.
Although Madden kept his team within striking distance, Fairview was unable to produce the key hit. In the fifth, Frazier was hit by a pitch leading off the frame and promptly reached third on a stolen base and a throwing error, but the Knights couldn’t bring him home.
Fairview appeared to be putting together a potential rally in the bottom of the seventh as Cannon Casey reached base on an error leading off the inning and Harris followed with a single off tiring Mountain Range starter Noah Draper, who recorded five strikeouts without a walk before giving way to reliever Aaron Griffith.
With the heart of the Knights’ order due up and no outs, Griffith was able to use an array of off-speed pitches to take advantage of Fairview’s aggressiveness. The Knights sent three players to the plate representing the tying run — Frazier, Tim Ryan, and Katz — but Griffith retired all three on swinging strikeouts.
“We had guys in scoring position but we couldn’t come through,” Frazier said. “We couldn’t even get sac flies or ground balls to score guys. I think we were trying to do too much. Especially in that last inning. The guy was throwing a sinker ball and we were trying to hit it. When it’s in the dirt, it’s not going to work.”
Follow Pat Rooney on Twitter: @prooney07
Mountain Range 6, Fairview 3
At Fairview H.S.
Mountain Range 303 000 0 — 6 8 2
Fairview 002 100 0 — 3 9 3
W — Draper. L — Katz
Mountain Range hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Wamsley 4-0-0-0, Walker 2-1-0-0, Draper 4-1-3-0, Salazar 0-1-0-0, Maestas 4-2-3-3, McKinney 3-1-0-0, Newton 3-0-2-1, Ramsey 3-0-0-0, Tremel 3-0-0-0, Ross 1-0-0-0. Totals 27-6-8-4. 2B — Draper. HR — Maestas (three on in 1st). SB — Ross, Walker.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Harris 4-1-2-1, Frazier 3-0-1-1, Ryan 3-0-1-0, Katz 4-0-0-0, Madden 3-1-1-0, Vlasity 3-0-1-0, Hernden 3-0-0-0, Feauto 3-0-1-1, Casey 3-0-2-0, Thorvilson 0-1-0-0. Totals 29-3-9-3. 2B — Vlasity, Harris, Frazier. SB — Ryan, Thorvilson, Madden, Frazier.
Mountain Range pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Draper 6-9-3-3-0-5; Griffith 1-0-0-0-0-3.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Katz 3-6-6-5-2-2; Madden 4-2-0-0-2-0.