DENVER — Some of the reinforcements have arrived, and just in time for the Old School Dirtbags.
The Dirtbags, Fairview’s Connie Mack squad, will depart Wednesday for the DK Classic at OU — and they got a sneak peek at two of their new players Tuesday in a doubleheader sweep at Regis Jesuit.
Fairview won the opener 7-1 and triumphed 4-2 in the late game.
Eventually, five players from the Corpus Christi, Texas area will join the Dirtbags. The first two, Mike Garza and John Gonzalez, arrived in the early morning hours Tuesday after flying in, played in the doubleheader, and now almost immediately will head to Oklahoma.
“It’s pretty intense. I’ve never done anything like this before,” said Garza, who contributed a two-run double off Rice-Bound pitcher Brent Schwartz in the opener. “But it’s fun. I knew nothing about them, but when I got here they treated me nice. They’re cool. The team is good.”
Garza (King High School) and Gonzalez (Carroll) are staying at the home of teammate Jake Kearney, who pitched five innings of one-hit relief to earn the win in the opener. But before they truly settle in, they’ll be off to Oklahoma.
The 36-team tournament will feature formidable teams with the Dirtbags the only squad from outside the Texas/Oklahoma region.
“We’re going down to that and we’re expecting a really high level of competition,” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “A lot of those teams are Connie Mack teams that you see in the World Series, the Dallas Mustangs and teams like that. We’ll get that high-level experience and see what happens.”
Pitcher Ryan Madden is at a showcase event in McAlester, Okla. and will rejoin the Dirtbags when they arrive. The tournament guarantees teams four games from Thursday to Saturday with final rounds to be played Sunday.
Fairview has been splitting time between its Legion A squad and the Dirtbags with the same roster, although the out-of-state players won’t be permitted to compete in Legion A play. The arrival of Garza and Gonzalez will provide some depth for the Dirtbags, who will enter the tournament 3-3.
“The Texas high school guys go so late, so getting them in there has been hard,” Harig said. “And the other hard part is we have a couple Fairview kids who have been doing a lot of football. Busy schedules and we don’t have a big roster, so we’ve been something of a skeleton crew.”
In the opener, Fairview broke open a 3-1 game with a four-run seventh against Schwartz, one of the best pitchers on the Class 5A circuit this season.
“I think this group is a special group,” said second baseman Jake Thoning, who hit the go-ahead two-run single in the opener. “Even without Jeff (Clarke), we still have a lot of lethal bats in the summer. It’s going to be a fun tournament I can already tell, just because of the way we are playing together.”
In the second game, shortstop Cameron Fraizer got a rare start on the mound and struck out five over three innings. He gave way to Mike Vlasity, who pitched a scoreless four innings to record the win. Walker Harris stole home and had a sacrifice fly to pace the offense.
The Corpus Christi pipeline comes from assistant coach David Castillo, who starred in that area, and whose dad is a recently-retired, prominent coach in southern Texas. Undoubtedly, the new faces are a welcome addition.
“They play baseball year-round, so they know what they’re doing,” Thoning said. “It’s exciting to see them play.”
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Old School Dirtbags 7, Regis Jesuit 1
At Regis Jesuit HS (Game 1)
Old School Dirtbags 012 000 4 — 7 6 1
Regis Jesuit 010 000 0 — 1 4 2
W — Kearney. L — Sinks.
Old School Dirtbags hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Frazier 5-0-0-0, Casey 3-1-0-0, Harris 4-0-1-0, Ryan 3-1-0-0, Thoning 3-2-2-2, Garza 2-1-1-2, Gonzalez 2-1-0-0, Kearney 3-0-0-0, Tyse 3-1-2-2. Totals 28-7-6-6. 2B — Garza. SB — Casey, Harris, Thoning, Gonzalez, Tyse.
Regis Jesuit hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Vottigro 2-0-0-0, Chouinard 3-0-0-0, Cameron 3-0-1-0, Jahoe 3-1-1-0, Schmidt 3-0-0-0, Schwartz 3-0-1-1, Chamberlain 3-0-1-0, Doerr 2-0-0-0, Kice 2-0-0-0. Totals 24-1-4-1. 3B — Jahoe.
Old School Dirtbags pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Gonzalez 2-3-1-1-1-1, Kearney 5-1-0-0-0-1.
Regis Jesuit pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Sinks 4-2-3-1-3-5, Sloan 1.2-1-0-0-2-1, Schwartz 1.1-3-4-4-1-0.
Old School Dirtbags 4, Regis Jesuit 2
At Regis Jesuit HS (Game 2)
Regis Jesuit 002 000 0 — 2 2 4
Old School Dirtbags 102 100 X — 4 5 2
W — Vlasity. L — Gerken.
Regis Jesuit hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Bryan 3-1-0-0, McDonald 2-1-0-0, McNivegal 2-0-0-0, Jahoe 3-0-1-0, Sinks 3-0-0-0, Kester 2-0-0-0, Cameron 1-0-0-0, Stark 2-0-0-0, Schmidt 1-0-0-0, Kice 2-0-0-0, Schwartz 1-0-0-0, Vottigro 2-0-1-0. Totals 24-2-2-0.
Old School Dirtbags hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Frazier 4-1-1-0, Casey 2-0-1-0, Harris 2-1-1-1, Ryan 3-0-1-0, Thoning 3-0-0-0, Garza 3-1-1-0, Gonzalez 3-0-0-0, Kearney 3-0-0-0, Kokora 0-0-0-0, Vlasity 1-1-0-0. Totals 24-4-5-1. SB — Frazier, Harris, Ryan, Garza.
Regis Jesuit pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Gerken 3.2-4-4-2-3-2, Chouinard 1.1-1-0-0-0-0, Jones 1-0-0-0-0-1.
Old School Dirtbags pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Frazier 3-1-2-0-2-5, Vlasity 4-1-0-0-0-3.