BOULDER — The Fairview Knights hung around the best they could in the first round of the Legion A state baseball tournament on Wednesday. But it wasn’t enough.
At Scott Carpenter Park, the Knights lost a 14-12 slugfest to the Fossil Ridge Sabercats. They gave themselves a chance, however, when center fielder Tim Ryan capped a five-run top of the eighth inning with a three-run home run that tied the game 12-12.
“I felt like everyone was hitting well and the team, as a whole, was playing hard and hitting,” Ryan said. “We needed to just keep hitting the ball.”
The Sabercats led 1-0 through the first four innings. But after that, neither team had a scoreless inning until the Knights’ ninth.
“Their first pitcher was a pretty good pitcher so we had a little trouble with him,” Ryan said. “We started hitting toward the end of this outing and Will (Stoorman) pitched well on the mound.”
Fighting to hang around, the Knights got an unexpected three-run home run from Alex Vlasity. The Knights senior-to-be was called up from the Legion B team and had just five at-bats in the last four games.
Batting right handed, Vlasity said he tries to hit fastball to the right side and off-speed to the left. He stuck to his strategy on a fastball and the ball carried out just inside the right field foul pole.
“I had no idea I was gonna go in. Coach just called me off the bench,” Vlasity said. “I was relaxed up there, maybe that’s why I hit it. I was just trying to get a hit and get some base runners so we could get some runs back.”
Vlasity said the outcome could have been different had the Knights been on top of their game. But they committed three errors and made several base-running mistakes that cost them runs.
“Our offense and our defense have been struggling a lot lately,” Vlasity said. “It’s not because we’re young. It’s because we’re inexperienced and we don’t have the focus that all these other teams do.”
Fairview head coach Rick Harig felt the Knights had a legitimate chance to win after Ryan’s home run tied the game in the eighth. But Sabercats first baseman Bryan Heavner hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to give his team the lead again for good.
“That’s a lot of hits and runs for the opening day of a tourney,” Harig said. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes at the end of the summer. The hitters may be hanging in there and the pitchers may be fading a little bit. We give them the credit for keeping on putting up big numbers on us. We could never stop them even though we weren’t ever going to give up.”
Both teams combined for 32 hits in the game.
Due to weather delays on Wednesday, Thursday’s schedule has been re-shuffled. Centaurus and Greeley GoJo Sports resume their game in the second inning at 8 a.m. Thursday morning. The loser plays Fairview at 11 a.m. in an elimination game.
While the Knights will have to play their way back through the losers’ bracket, but they’re not counting themselves out.
“The way the tournament’s set up, it doesn’t penalize the loser until the last day,” Harig said. “You have to lose twice, so tomorrow’s just another game but we have more pressure on us with our backs to the wall. We’ll play one game a day for the next few days as long as we keep winning.”
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Fossil Ridge 14, Fairview 12
At Scott Carpenter Park
Fairview 000 031 350 — 12 11 3
Fossil Ridge 010 044 32x — 14 21 0
W — Donaldson. L — M. Vlasity.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Frazior 2-2-1-2, Maddon 5-2-1-1, Ryan 5-1-2-5, D’Epagnier 4-0-0-0, Cunningham 1-0-0-0, Hernden 3-0-0-0, A. Vlasity 2-1-2-3, Feauto 5-0-0-0, Thoning 3-3-3-0, Harris 3-1-1-0, Casey 3-2-1-0, Stoorman 0-0-0-0, Totals 36-12-11-11. 2B — Frazior, Maddon, Harris. HR — A. Vlasity (2 on in 7th), Ryan (2 on in 8th). SB — Frazier.
Fossil Ridge hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Calapp 5-1-0-0, Dummer 5-1-2-1, Donaldson 6-1-4-1, Tapia 6-3-4-1, Bible 5-1-1-2, Peter 4-3-3-2, Garcia 4-2-2-2, Heavner 5-1-3-2, Waterland 4-1-2-1, Suelter 0-0-0-0, Totals 44-14-21-12.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Stoorman 5-13-5-5-0-3, Katz 2-5-7-6-2-4, M. Vlasity 1-3-2-2-1-1.
Fossil Ridge pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Suelter 6-7-4-4-3-6, McCoy 1-2-5-5-3-0, Garcia 1-2-3-3-3-2, Donaldson 1-0-0-0-0-2.