BOULDER — Tight finishes have been a rarity for Legacy baseball this season. But Friday, when the Lightning found themselves in a tight spot, they responded like walking the razor’s edge was an everyday occurrence.
Legacy endured one of its closest contests of its Front Range League schedule, escaping Fairview with a 4-3 extra-inning victory. And while it was tense at moments, the Lightning themselves never doubted the outcome.
“We knew we were going to grind it out, given the condition of the field and having a few days off, given the snow,” Legacy first baseman Jake Bublitz said. “We just had to stay mentally focused.”
Fairview (11-7, 6-2) thwarted Bublitz from hitting safely all day, but not from batting in the game-winning run. The Legacy senior gave his team the final lead of the game in the last inning of play on a sacrifice fly to center field. The play scored Hunter Parnell from third, who handily beat the relay to home plate.
“I just wanted to get it to the outfield, I wasn’t even looking for a hit,” Bublitz said. “A game-winning RBI is good enough for me.”
Fairview has been one of the hottest teams in conference as of late, winning its last five outings. But the falter Friday puts pressure on the team, which is one game away from ending its regular season.
The team entered its game against Legacy (12-3, 6-1) in fifth place in the Front Range League. Now it is in a must-win situation come Monday’s game against Horizon to stay in the running for one of the five conference berths or one of the playoff wild cards.
“Even if we win I don’t think it’s a guarantee we’ll get in the top five,” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “I think we’ll be fine in points, but we won’t know until the ranking come out.”
Knocking off Legacy — which sits second in conference — would have gone a long way to securing the Knights’ place in the postseason. And from Harig’s perspective, his team’s main fault in not wrapping up the win was too many easy outs.
“We left a lot of men on base and had a lot of non-adjustments with two strikes where we went down swinging,” he said.
In defense of Fairview’s lineup, it was facing one of the conference’s steeliest left-handers for the better part of the game — Lucus Gilbreath. The junior had a whopping 102 strikeouts entering Friday and added another 12 in his five innings of work.
Impressive as his stats might have been, Gilbreath was critical of his overall showing.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today,” he said. “(Eric) Romero did a good job coming in after me in shutting the door.”
Fairview finished with four extra-base hits against Legacy, with Cameron Fraizer coming up with some of his team’s most timely at bats. The outfielder opened the game’s scoring in the second, sending a runner home on the third consecutive walk of the inning. Then in the fourth, he gave his team its final lead with a two-run double of a line drive down the first base line.
“They’re a quality team and it was good to be in with them,” Fraizer said. “We just couldn’t come through in the latter innings.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
Legacy 4, Fairview 3
Legacy (12-3, 3-2) 002 010 01 — 4 4 0
Fairview (11-7, 6-2) 010 200 00 — 3 6 2
W — Romero (2-0). L — Vlasity (0-1).
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Parnell 3-2-2-2, Crockett 4-0-1-1, Bublitz 2-0-0-01, Farrell 3-0-0-0, Payne 4-0-1-0, Miyaki 2-0-0-0, Cross 3-1-0-0, Lomeli 3-1-0-0, Camerlo 2-1-0-0. Totals 26-4-4-4. 3B — Parnell. SB — Camerlo.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Frasier 3-0-1-3, Harris 3-0-0-0, Clarke 4-0-1-0, D’Epagnier 3-0-1-0, Katz 4-1-1-0, Ryan 4-0-0-0, Thoning 2-1-0-0, Vlasity 1-0-1-0, Kearney 2-0-0-0, Hill 1-0-0-0, Casey 3-1-1-0. Totals 29-3-6-3. 2B — D’Epagnier, Thoning, Frazier. 3B — Katz. SB — Harris.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Gilbreath 5-4-3-3-5-12, Romero 3-2-0-0-0-2.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Madden 7-4-3-2-1-8, Vlasity .2-0-1-1-0-0, Kokora .1-1-0-0-0-0.