BOULDER — It took 21 innings for Fairview to collect its first 12 hits of the American Legion A State Tournament.
Cameron Frazier, Walker Harris and Jeff Clarke equaled that total themselves in Friday’s elimination game against the Colorado Twins Blue. And there was more where that came from.
The Knights finally found their proper follow-through for 22 hits in an 18-1 blowout of the Twins, turning the page as they continue on for another day’s work while Colt Sedbrook’s squad finishes their season 31-21.
The hosts had six hits in each of their first two games, totals that typically would have a team out of the double-elimination tournament. But, they utilized all their baserunners in a win against Eaton on Wednesday, and then on Friday came up with runs in all but one inning.
“We came in today, really, just more relaxed and we were jumping at first-pitch strikes and able to put more contact on the ball,” said Clarke, who had five hits and five RBI’s. “We played good, relaxed baseball and were able to do the damage we know we can at the plate.”
The run total was a summer season-best, and production was scattered beyond just the top three in the lineup. Steve D’Epagnier had a pair of RBI hits, Jeremy Katz drove in two with a smoked double down the left field line, and Johnny Feauto and Calvin Munson also drove in runs.
“Hopefully it will carry some good momentum over the next few games,” Clark said.
Needing just a decent pitching performance with all that offense, Jake Kearney was simply brilliant. He cruised through the first 52/3 innings — throwing fewer than 50 pitches — before the Twins lineup was able to start connecting.
He allowed eight hits in all but did not walk a batter, striking out three and inducing popups and flyballs early. That allowed Fairview’s defense to settle down a little bit after an eight-error game on Thursday.
“Pitching with the lead the whole time, I just knew I had to pound the zone and let them hit,” Kearney said after an 81-pitch complete game. “They were swinging pretty early in counts … things just went in my favor. We just have to turn the page every day, and try to be better (defensively).”
For both teams, the fourth inning was crucial.
Fairview took an 8-0 lead on Katz’s double, but in the bottom inning turned a wacky double play after a missed cutoff. A single from Jaron Balman to right was going to load the bases, but the throw in made it to the backstop. The ball conveniently hopped right back to Fairview catcher Cannon Casey, who threw to Kearney covering home plate for a tagout of Bryan Meek. Alex Kinnison also tried to advance from first to third on the play, but Kearney wisely made the turn to pick up the advance attempt.
The Twins left the bases loaded in the fifth, leaving Sedbrook believing his team was not aggressive enough when they needed to be.
“Coach (Rick) Harig set the tone as far as putting guys in motion, stealing bases … and we couldn’t match it,” Sedbrook said. “They played with a high level of intensity, and at this point you have to be able to handle it or be able to match it. We didn’t do either of those things.”
The tournament set up for no rematches before the final day, and because the Knights have already played Brighton, Saturday’s game (1 p.m.) automatically pits them against Rocky Mountain. Kearney said it’s an intriguing matchup given the way the teams played earlier this summer.
“We’ve played them a few times this year, but if we play like we did today we can take them,” Kearney said.
Saturday’s games will be played at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in anticipation of weather coming through the area.
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Fairview 18, Twins Blue 1
At Fairview H.S.
Fairview 150 233 4 — 18 22 2
Twins Blue 000 001 0 — 1 8 4
W — Kearney. L — Magee.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Frazier 5-4-4-2, Harris 5-3-3-2, Clarke 6-2-5-5, D’Epagnier 6-0-2-2, Katz 3-0-1-2, Thoning 5-1-1-0, Casey 4-3-2-0, Feauto 5-2-3-0, Munson 2-3-1-2. Totals 41-18-22-15. 2B — Clarke, Katz, Thoning, Casey. SB — Frazier, Clarke 2.
Twins Blue hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Reigle 4-0-0-0, Meek 3-0-2-0, Kinnison 3-1-1-0, Balman 3-0-1-0, Katechis 1-0-0-0, Magee 2-0-0-0, Stauss 1-0-0-0, Hawthorne 1-0-1-0, Wenande 3-0-0-0, Morris 3-0-2-0, Platt 3-0-1-0. Totals 28-1-8-0. 3B — Kinnison.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kearney 7-8-1-0-0-3.
Twins Blue pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Magee 2-6-6-6-3-0, Caruso 2.2-7-5-5-0-2, Morris 2.1-9-7-5-2-2.