BOULDER — The roster is a bit light and the spirits were a bit lacking after the way the Fairview baseball team opened the Cherry Creek Classic.
Jeremy Katz sure picked an opportune time for a near gem.
It’s labeled a “near” gem because of how it ended, but the right-hander’s performance was a pick-me-up for the Knights no matter how it was sliced. He struck out 10 in the host Knights’ 7-6 win against Slammers Q, which allowed Fairview to break even in a Thursday doubleheader after an opening 8-0 loss to Diamond Club.
“My slider and curveball were working well today,” Katz said. “It didn’t seem like they could hit it much.”
Katz was cruising into the seventh with a 7-1 lead. He struck out the first batter — that was his 10th — and appeared ready to shut the door. But as his pitch count climbed over 100, Katz encountered his only rough patch of the afternoon.
Slammers put together a rally consisting of five singles and two infield errors by the Knights (8-5). With the tying and go-ahead runs on base, Katz got pinch hitter Quinton Bonnell to fly to left to end it.
“He had a really good game, even though he threw more pitches than we wanted him to throw,” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “We were hoping we could (invoke the run rule) after scoring seven early, but we only had three hits. We were happy to escape with a win at this point.”
At one point during the Slammers’ seventh-inning rally, Fairview catcher Cannon Casey used a reverse-psychology technique to help his team refocus and close it out.
“I called everybody to the mound at the end there to kind of settle everybody down,” Casey said. “I didn’t really talk about the game. I just asked them how their day was going. It let everyone get loose.”
Fairview took command early as Slammers pitchers failed to find the strike zone. Two pitchers combined to walk eight in the first, when the Knights scored all their runs. Casey, Johnny Feauto, and Calvin Munson drew bases-loaded free passes and Jacob Thoning drilled a two-run single in the inning.
But the Knights managed only three baserunners the rest of the way, and finished each game with only three hits — all of them singles. That made Katz’s outing (seven innings, three earned runs) all the more paramount.
“His slider was working pretty well all day,” Casey said. “We were just trying to pitch backwards with a lot off-speed because we didn’t think they could hit it. We wanted to slow their bats down a little bit.”
The Knights conclude pool play Friday morning at home against the Travelers (10 a.m.).
Fairview is playing the summer without Ryan Madden and Tim Ryan, who each joined other programs, and will be without multi-position standout Cameron Frazier until the team heads to Arizona on June 13. Frazier is playing in Oklahoma until then.
“It seems like there’s less in the dugout for sure,” Katz said. “We’ve kind of gotten used to not having Ryan and Tim, but it’s a little different without Cameron.”
In the opener, Diamond Club designated hitter Cory Voss was gigantic. The Pueblo South senior-to-be, who has committed to New Mexico, went 2-for-3 with five RBIs. Diamond Club featured Holy Family players Devlin Granberg and Zach Dedin, as well as Boulder’s Levi Chandler.
Granberg, a shortstop for the Class 3A state champion Tigers during varsity season, played first base and went 2-for-4 with an RBI double and two runs scored.
DC pounded 12 hits against Knights starter Blake Kitayama, who persevered through a complete game and allowed Fairview to save arms for the remainder of the tournament.
Katz did the same in Game 2.
“Luckily for us, Jeremy stuck his nose in it and got it done,” Harig said.
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Diamond Club 8, Fairview 0
At Fairview H.S.
Diamond Club 302 021 — 8 12 2
Fairview 000 000 — 0 3 2
W — Sherry. L — Kitayama.
Diamond Club hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Ortiz 4-0-1-1, Mulvaney 3-3-2-0, Granberg 4-2-2-1, Dedin 3-1-2-1, Voss 3-1-2-5, Chandler 2-0-1-0, Goldberg 2-0-0-0, Huson 2-0-0-0, Griffith 3-0-1-0. Totals 26-8-12-8. 2B — Voss, Granberg. HR — Voss (two on in first).
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Thoning 3-0-0-0, Harris 3-0-1-0, Clarke 3-0-0-0, D’Epagnier 3-0-0-0, Katz 2-0-1-0, Casey 2-0-0-0, Feauto 2-0-0-0, Kearney 2-0-0-0, Munson 2-0-1-0. Totals 22-0-3-0.
Diamond Club pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) — Sherry 6-3-0-0-0-5.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) — Kitayama 6-11-8-5-4-1.
Fairview 7, Slammers Q 6
At Fairview H.S.
Slammers Q 100 000 5 — 6 9 2
Fairview 700 000 X — 7 3 3
W — Katz. L — Roberts.
Slammers hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Gaber 4-2-2-2, Brown 3-1-1-0, Hajek 4-0-2-1, Falbo 4-0-1-2, Corrigan 4-0-0-0, Evans 2-0-0-0, O’Neill 1-0-0-0, Bonnell 1-0-0-0, Schnoor 2-0-0-0, Gjersee 1-1-1-0, Jackson 3-1-2-0, Cirbo 3-1-0-0. Totals 32-6-9-5.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Thoning 3-1-1-2, Harris 2-0-0-0, Clarke 2-1-0-0, D’Epagnier 2-0-0-0, Casey 2-0-1-1, Feauto 2-1-0-1, Kearney 3-1-1-0, Kitayama 3-1-0-0, Munson 2-1-0-1. Totals 21-7-3-5.
Slammers pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) — Roberts 0-0-3-3-4-0, Garcia 5-3-4-3-5-1, Schnoor 1-0-0-0-0-1.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) — Katz 7-9-6-3-1-10.