BOULDER — It wasn’t nerves. It wasn’t youth.
The Fairview baseball team wasn’t resorting to excuses. It was simply an abysmal fielding day.
Fairview had a chance to tidily wrap up Pool B of the Boulder National Invitational Tournament on Friday, but the error-plagued Knights fell 10-6 to the Manhattan (Kan.) Wolfpack.
“They say hitting is contagious. Well, so is defense,” said Fairview coach Rick Harig, whose team committed eight errors. “It was contagious against us there for a little while.”
A win would have made Fairview 3-0 and propelled them to the quarterfinals of the 28-team tournament. The Knights still earned a spot in the final eight, but they had to hold their breath until Manhattan lost to Team Colorado-Dyer later Friday. Fairview and Team Colorado-Dyer each finished pool play 2-1, but Fairview got the nod by virtue of beating Team Colorado-Dyer 5-4 on Thursday.
The Knights will face the Davy Jones Rangers at 4:30 p.m. Saturday at FHS.
The Knights could have made it easier on themselves by not spotting Manhattan a 6-0 lead after the top of the second inning. Fairview dispersed their errors fairly evenly: two apiece in the first, second, fifth and sixth. Only two of Manhattan’s runs were earned against three Knights pitchers.
“I think we’re past the state of nerves since we’re about 50 games into the season,” Knights infielder Jeremy Katz said. “But yeah, it was a rough game in the field.”
At the plate, the Knights were fine. They bashed 11 hits, six of them doubles. Tim Ryan went 4 for 4 with two doubles and an RBI, Katz was 3 for 4 with a double and two runs scored and Johnny Feauto went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs.
Despite the hitting barrage, Wolfpack pitcher Spencer Anderson kept Fairview’s scoring bursts to a minimum by walking none in a complete-game performance.
“We played hard. We just got caught off guard a few times and that’s when the errors came,” Ryan said. “We knew what the goal was. But the other team might have come out with a little more intensity than we did at the beginning.”
Ryan Madden started on the mound for Fairview, but was lifted after four errors helped dig him the 6-0 hole after two innings. Ryan came in from center field to pitch the next two innings and Cameron Frazier the final three, with each reliever surrendering two unearned runs.
“Some of those looked like physical errors, but a lot of the time they were just a matter of mental readiness,” Harig said. “Just a bad defensive game. We play some defense, we have a shot at winning.”
Manhattan managed just seven hits, all singles, but drew six walks and benefited from the bevy of miscues. Talented center fielder Kellen Myers led the way for the Wolfpack with a 3-for-3 performance that included an RBI and two stolen bases.
Frustrations boiled over for the Knights in the fifth with a fiery ejection of assistant coach Sean Costello. After a play in which Madden fielded a groundball at third and tagged a runner on a close play at third before airmailing a throw to first, Costello stormed out of the dugout.
The field umpire ruled the runner safe at third, but Costello contended the umpire was out of position and should have at least asked the home plate ump for help.
The Knights’ exasperation was epitomized by cleanup hitter Steve D’Epangnier, who went 0 for 4 despite ripping the ball solidly in all four of his at-bats.
“We were all hitting the ball hard,” Ryan said. “Just sometimes it went to the other team.”
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21
Manhattan 10, Fairview 6
At Fairview H.S.
Manhattan 330 022 0 — 10 7 2
Fairview 010 311 0 — 6 11 8
W — Anderson. L — Madden.
Manhattan hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Webber 3-2-1-0, J. Klug 4-2-1-1, Fehr 4-1-1-1, Myers 3-1-3-1, Mullin 3-0-1-1, Fabrizios 0-2-0-0, Leaper 3-1-0-1, C. Klug 2-0-0-0, Holen 1-0-0-0, Leary 0-0-0-0, Whipple 2-1-0-0, Schultz 2-0-0-1, Gorman 1-0-0-0. Totals 28-10-7-6. SB — Myers 2.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Harris 4-0-0-0, Frazier 4-1-1-0, Ryan 4-1-4-1, D’Epagnier 4-0-0-0, Madden 3-1-1-1, Katz 4-2-3-1, Hernden 3-0-0-0, Feauto 3-1-2-2, Casey 3-0-0-0. Totals 32-6-11-5. 2B — Ryan 2, Fraizer, Madden, Katz, Feauto. SB — Feauto.
Manhattan pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Anderson 7-11-6-4-0-3.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Madden 2-5-6-2-0-2, Ryan 2-1-2-0-4-1, Frazier 3-1-2-0-2-2.