BOULDER — Fairview was hoping the top of the first inning would qualify as the lone fireworks show in the Boulder National Invitational Tournament championship game.
Unfortunately for the Knights, the pyrotechnics were just beginning.
Youthful Fairview leapt to an early five-run lead Sunday at Scott Carpenter Park, but two ejections and four pitchers later, the advantage dissolved into a 13-8 loss to Moline (Ill.) Post 246 in the tournament finale.
“There were a lot of numbers up there,” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “And I think they really took the momentum with their big number.”
That would be Moline’s seven-run second inning that featured the disqualification of Harig and Knights catcher Cannon Casey. After Moline’s Emilio Alonso slid home and wiped out Casey to give his team a 6-5 lead, Casey and the home-plate umpire exchanged words.
Alonso’s slide was hard but appeared clean, as he was darting for the plate and not going out of his way to upend the catcher. Casey was given a quick dismissal, and Harig didn’t last much longer after he came out to plead.
“The umpire claimed that (Casey) said something and I basically disagreed,” Harig said. “I tried to diffuse it, but it ended up getting both of us thrown out.”
Fairview had mostly vanquished its arsenal of arms in the first five games of the tournament, so the Knights had to use a mix of Legion B floaters and relievers in an attempt to piecemeal their way through.
That strategy proved difficult against hard-hitting Moline, which finished the tourney 6-0. While first baseman Ryan O’Keefe shined in the title game for Moline (3-for-5, 4 RBIs), center fielder Eric Ashcraft earned MVP of the tournament. The University of Illinois outfielder was solid throughout and had a monster game in the semifinals against the Longmont Twins.
Moline was in a unique situation in that the team had a flight to catch, so the game times of the semifinals and championship were moved up a few hours and the long championship game didn’t help.
“It was crazy, especially being rushed,” Ashcraft said. “We’re just trying to get out of there with our coach getting a little uptight and wanting to make the flight. We definitely felt the pressure.”
Fairview darted to the 5-0 lead with help from a three-run homer by Ryan Madden in the first. But Moline reliever Drew Owens came in and stemmed the tide with 5-plus innings of effective pitching, which allowed his offense to unleash a 14-hit attack.
“It really comes down to who has more pitching,” Madden said. “We didn’t seem too short, but in reality we were.”
The Knights advanced to the title game by virtue of a riveting 3-2 win against Team Colorado-Eaton in the semifinals earlier Sunday at Fairview. Johnny Feauto outdueled Daniel Mackay on the mound, and Kyle Hernden delivered the go-ahead run with an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth.
Hernden added a solo homer in the title game.
Follow Paul Willis on Twitter: @PaulWillis21
Moline Post 246 13, Fairview 8
At Scott Carpenter Park
Fairview 500 012 0 — 8 13 4
Moline 371 101 X — 13 14 2
W — Owens. L — Vlasity. Sv — DeVrieze.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Harris 3-2-1-0, Frazier 5-1-3-0, Ryan 4-0-0-1, D’Epagnier 3-1-0-0, Madden 4-1-2-4, Katz 3-1-0-0, Hernden 4-1-3-1, Feauto 4-0-2-1, Casey 1-0-0-0, Stoorman 3-1-2-0. Totals 34-8-13-7. 2B — Hernden. HR — Madden (two on in 1st), Hernden (solo in 5th). SB — Frazier.
Moline hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Brill 3-2-1-0, Mosley 2-0-1-0, Alonso 2-2-2-2, Ashcraft 2-3-0-1, R. O’Keefe 5-1-3-4, Viane 4-1-3-1, Jasper 4-0-1-0, Shaw 4-2-1-2, Tracey 3-0-1-0, Frost 4-2-1-0. Totals 33-13-14-10. 2B — Alonso, R. O’Keefe, Tracey. HR — Shaw (one on in 2nd). SB — Ashcraft.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Cunningham 1-4-3-3-1-0, Vlasity 0.1-3-6-3-1-0, Katz 4.2-7-3-1-2-4, Frazier 1-0-1-0-2-0.
Moline pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Wages 0.1-5-5-5-2-0, Owens 5.1-7-3-3-2-7, DeVrieze 1.1-1-0-0-0-1.
Fairview 3, Team Colorado-Eaton 2
At Fairview H.S.
Team Colorado-Eaton 100 100 0 — 2 6 1
Fairview 100 011 X — 3 4 2
W — Feauto. L — Mackay.
Team Colorado-Eaton hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Soicher 3-1-0-0, Wyss 3-1-2-0, Baeckel 3-0-2-1, Smith 2-0-0-0, Mackay 2-0-1-0, Smeeton 2-0-1-0, Porreco 2-0-0-0, Johnson 2-0-0-0, Marquardt 3-0-0-0. Totals 22-2-6-1. SB — Wyss.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Harris 3-0-1-0, Frazier 3-0-0-1, Ryan 2-1-0-0, D’Epagnier 3-0-1-0, Madden 3-0-1-0, Katz 2-1-0-0, Hernden 3-0-1-1, Feauto 2-1-0-0, Casey 1-0-0-0. Totals 22-3-4-2. 2B — Hernden. SB — Ryan.
Team Colorado-Eaton (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Mackay 6-4-3-2-2-10.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Feauto 7-6-2-1-3-5.