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DENVER — It was an impressive performance in a game that could have propelled the Boulder Legion A baseball team into a solid run through the Cherry Creek Classic.

That’s a goal that is still readily available for Boulder. The squad will just have to do it after bouncing back from an extra-innings defeat in which one hit here or there might have reversed the outcome.

Boulder suffered a 4-3 loss in nine innings Thursday at Mullen in the opening game of pool play in the annual summer tournament hosted by Cherry Creek Baseball. Boulder will complete pool play in a doubleheader Friday against Slammers Holzemer and the Colorado Bandits before the entire tournament is sent into bracket play on Saturday.

The Panthers received nine strong innings from left-hander Wyatt Linde, but his effort went for naught when Mullen’s Robert Mitchell connected for a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth.

“I was able to locate my fastball real well, and my curveball and change-up were working,” Linde said. “My catcher (Eli Langston) was helping with everything and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him.

“I love these tournaments so much and this is why we play in the summer, for these tournaments.”

Linde allowed four runs on 12 hits in nine innings, recording six strikeouts while issuing only one non-intentional walk. Several of the hits Linde allowed were seeing-eye infield grounders, and he may have walked away with the victory had Boulder been able to take advantage of several late scoring opportunities.

The Panthers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning on an RBI single from Steve Galambos followed by a sacrifice fly from Grant Dinkel. Mullen, however, answered with two runs in the bottom half of the frame, and the host Mustangs inched ahead on an RBI single from Cameron Brown in the fourth.

Boulder drew even on Tyler Gould’s RBI single in the top of the sixth and looked poised to break the game open with the bases loaded and no outs. But Mullen starter Grant Witherspoon struck out leadoff hitter from Montana Guegan before giving way to Landon Urban, whose first offering was laced by Langston for a line-drive out to first base. Urban then ended the threat by getting a force out from Galambos.

Boulder also threatened in the top of the seventh, when Luke Bote was thrown out at the plate as the go-head run, and the ninth, when the Panthers could not take advantage of getting a man on second with one out.

“We’ve been playing well, we just had a few missed opportunities to drive in runs,” said Kelby Woodard, who had two of Boulder’s 11 hits. “I think we played well today. We didn’t really make any errors and we hit the ball pretty well. We just need to come back tomorrow ready to play. There’s still a lot of baseball left to play.”

After escaping a one-out, bases-loaded jam in the eighth, Mullen finally tagged Linde for the winning run in the ninth. Urban began the decisive rally for the Mustangs with a one-out double, and he immediately advanced to third on a balk by Linde. Boulder opted to intentionally walk the next two batters in hopes of setting up an easy force out, but Mitchell came through with a line drive into the left-center field gap to end the game.

“Every time I just got into a jam, like when I had the bases loaded there in the eighth, I just took a step back, took some deep breaths, relaxed, and just tried to get back in it,” Linde said. “I was able to keep focused on what I needed to do.”

Follow Pat on Twitter: @prooney07

Mullen 4, Boulder 3

At Mullen H.S.

Boulder 002 001 000 — 3 11 0

Mullen 002 100 001 — 4 12 2

W — Urban. L — Linde.

Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Guegan 4-1-1-0, Langston 3-0-0-0, Galambos 5-0-1-1, Dinkel 4-0-0-1, Bote 4-0-1-0, Woodard 5-1-2-0, Baumgartner 5-0-2-0, Barnett 4-0-3-0, Gould 3-1-1-1. Totals 37-3-11-3. 2B — Woodard. SB — Baumgartner, Barnett.

Mullen hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Duran 4-1-1-0, T. Porreco 4-1-1-0, Mitchell 5-0-4-2, Witherspoon 4-0-2-1, Dobrash 3-0-0-0, Tofoya 2-0-1-0, R. Porreco 1-0-0-0, Garcia 4-1-1-0, Machado 3-0-0-0, Brown 2-0-1-1, Urban 2-1-1-0. Totals 34-4-12-4. 2B — Urban, Mitchell. SB — Witherspoon, Tofoya.

Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Linde 9-12-4-4-4-6.

Mullen pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Witherspoon 5.1-8-3-3-2-6; Urban 3.2-3-0-0-0-3.

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