DENVER — It must be something in a baseball player’s DNA … that ability to recall on a moment’s notice the familiarity of an opponent.
Last season, Legacy and then-junior pitcher Lucas Gilbreath beat then top-five Regis Jesuit 4-3 in their season opener.
It must have been stuck in the craw of the Raiders, who exacted some revenge on the Lightning on Wednesday at Mike Campbell Field on the Regis campus. The Raiders scored seven runs in both the third and fifth inning to beat Gilbreath and the Lightning 14-4 in a mercy-rule five inning game.
“They definitely came out prepared,” Gilbreath said, “I could tell.”
Fresh off a spring break trip to Florida, where they played five games in four days, the Lightning struggled to get the bats going early against Regis starter Brett Schwarz.
Gilbreath was matching Schwarz’s zeros, and appeared as though he would get out of the third unscathed. But with two outs, the Raiders — on their second time through the lineup — started to hit the ball and catch a few breaks.
Gilbreath had Oregon State-bound slugger Max George in a 1-2 hole and the slugging shortstop’s bounding ball back up the middle glanced off Gilbreath and Devin Payne was unable to field it cleanly, thus allowing the first run to score. It would be the first of four straight hits, culminated by catcher Jack Brett’s three-run home run over the right field fence, off Gilbreath.
Gilbreath would finish out the inning and was lifted in favor of Jackson Epslin in the fourth.
“They hit the ball well,” said Gilbreath, whose summer and fall ball accolades are were well known in the Raiders dugout. “That’s not the first time that has happened and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Just got to live and learn.”
The Lightning (2-5) answered right back in the top of the fourth. After a leadoff walk by Payne and a single by Matthew Rody, Nick Nash plated the first Legacy run with a single.
Tyler Rope then singled to load the bases for second baseman Michael Miyasaki. The senior second baseman ripped a ball over right fielder Zach Woodruff’s head and plated all three runs. Miyasaki was thrown out trying to stretch it to a triple.
“Gily wasn’t as sharp as he has been and offensively we just couldn’t get things started,” Lightning coach Ty Giordano said. “Once they had their big inning, we started having better at-bats, but unfortunately we hit it where they were and those guys basically hit it where we weren’t.
“They had a lot of seeing-eye singles, I mean balls were hit hard, it’s not like they were bleeders or anything.”
The Lightning will close out the non-league portion of their schedule on Friday at Standley Lake before opening up Front Range League play next week at home against highly-touted Rocky Mountain.
“Sometimes that happens, that’s just the way this game is, but the big thing for us is that we need to try and realize that we are a good club and we have to come to work tomorrow,” Giordano said. “Even though it’s a short season, only 19 games, but it is still a long season. We’ve just got to keep working and get better.”
Regis designated hitter Justin Thaxton went 3 for 4 with two runs scored and Brett went 2 for 4 with 4 RBIs. Eight of the nine hitters in the Raiders lineup had at least one of the 14 hits.
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Regis Jesuit 14, Legacy 4
At Regis Jesuit
Legacy (2-5) 000 40 — 4 4 2
Regis Jesuit (4-3) 007 07 — 14 14 2
W — Schwarz (3-0). L — Gilbreath (1-1).
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Parnell 3-0-0-0, Luthi 3-0-1-0, Payne 2-1-0-0, Cross 3-0-0-0, Crockett 0-0-0-0, Rody 2-1-1-0, Nash 1-1-0-0, Rope 2-1-1-1, Miyasaki 1-0-1-3, Ayala 2-0-0-0, Gilbreath 0-0-0-0, Epslin 0-0-0-0. Totals 18-4-4-4. 2B — Miyasaki.
Regis Jesuit hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cotton 4-2-2-2, Urich 3-1-1-0, George 4-1-1-1, Todd 3-2-1-2, Schmidt 2-1-2-1, Cameron 1-1-1-2, Thaxton 2-2-3-1, Brett 3-1-2-4, Vottiero 0-1-0-0, Donovan 2-1-1-0, Woodruff 1-1-0-0, Schwarz 0-0-0-0. Totals 27-14-14-13. 2B — Todd, Schmidt. HR —Brett (two on in third). SB —Donovan.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Gilbreath 3-6-7-7-2-4, Epslin 1-4-4-4-2-1, Luthi .1-4-3-3-1-0.
Regis Jesuit pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Schwarz 5-4-4-4-2-5.