Highway 36 hasn’t seen as much traffic in seven hours as the Fairview baseball team has the past two days.
On Thursday, the Knights couldn’t find any alternate routes to a win in the American Legion A state tournament.
A day after beating Eaton and its 21 hits, Fairview saw Brighton place runners on base in each of the nine innings the teams played at Knights Field, driving the Bulldogs to a 12-2 win and putting the hosts in elimination mode.
One could argue the Knights put themselves there. Brighton had just 10 hits — all singles — but eight Fairview errors, three hit batters, and five bases on balls helped create ruts on the diamond.
“(Starter Johnny Feauto) threw well, and we made too many errors and got down on ourselves,” said Fairview’s Cameron Frazier, who went 1-for-4 with a run scored. “It’s baseball, and it’s heat of the moment stuff (that was costly), but I think we are going to rebound pretty quick (Friday.)”
For a while, it appeared as though Fairview just might be able to shake off the miscues, as Brighton carried a 3-2 lead into the seventh.
But a couple of mental errors added to the physical ones in a six-run frame, and the Knights were visibly struggling to focus.
Feauto walked Brandon Pettinger to start the inning, then hit Ty Archuleta. Up to bunt, Caden Pratt hit the ball right back to Feauto, who went to third too late. James Smith’s single made it 4-2, and Brighton was on its way to a big inning.
“We weren’t locked in, that’s just it. Johnny works a really quick game, and our guys didn’t (synch up),” said Rick Harig, whose team will try and bounce back Friday at noon against Colorado Twins Blue. “For whatever reason. The seventh, that’s the difference in the game. It’s 3-2 and anything can still happen at that point … we kind of fell apart.”
Feauto managed to strike out 11 Brighton batters, but the Bulldogs also put pressure on the defense with baserunning and small-ball. A well-designed delayed steal in the fourth got Brighton on the board, and a few bunt attempts proved fruitful.
Brian Kelley also shut down Fairview’s offense for the second time in two weeks. Kelley, Brighton’s ace, threw eight innings allowing just the two runs — one on a solo home run from Jeremy Katz.
“We put the ball in play today, and they booted a few balls which is uncharacteristic of (Fairview). We just did things a little bit better,” said Brighton coach Josh Mondragon. “For Brian, his past two outings have been sub-par. When he’s able to locate and not worrying about guys on base, am I going to get run support, this or that, he’s pretty dominant. Today he was in the zone.”
“We came out kind of flat, but at the same time (Kelley) is a pretty good pitcher. We’ve seen him before,” Frazier added. “I think we hit the ball hard towards the end of the game, but they were right there for it.”
Follow Adam on Twitter: @adunivan24
Brighton 12, Fairview 2
Brighton 000 300 621 — 12 10 1
Fairview 000 011 000 — 2 6 8
W — Kelley. L — Feauto.
Brighton hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Pettinger 4-2-2-1, Archuleta 2-2-1-0, Pratt 4-3-2-1, Smith 6-2-2-1, Reynolds 4-0-0-0, Egloff 4-2-2-2, Lane 4-1-1-1, Brazzel 3-0-0-0, Kelley 1-0-0-0, Martinez 1-0-0-0, Golderman 5-0-0-0. Totals 38-12-10-6. SB — Pratt, Smith, Lane, Golderman.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Frazier 4-1-1-0, Harris 4-0-1-0, Clarke 4-0-2-1, D’Epagnier 3-0-0-0, Katz 4-1-1-1, Thoning 4-0-1-0, Casey 1-0-0-0, Kearney 3-0-0-0, Kitayama 3-0-0-0, Munson 1-0-0-0. Totals 31-2-6-2. HR — Katz (solo in 4th). SB — Clarke.
Brighton pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kelley 8-6-2-2-3-4, Martinez 1-0-0-0-1-1.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Feauto 6.2-6-9-4-4-11, Vlasity 2.1-4-3-1-1-2.