Whether they are departing seniors or players who will be back, everyone on the Fairview Legion A baseball team understands the concept.
No matter how it’s sliced, this is the last hurrah for this particular group, one of the finest assembled teams in program annals. If they bow out of the Legion A state tournament, it won’t be with a whimper.
But by all indications, the Knights have no plans of bowing out. Fairview, officially the visitors on their home field, received a stellar start Friday from senior-to-be Johnny Feauto and bashed their way to a convincing 15-4 win against Class 5A state champion Rocky Mountain.
All nine in the Fairview lineup had at least one hit — leadoff man Cameron Frazier had a backbreaking three-run homer in the seventh — as the Knights roared into the semifinals (1 p.m., Saturday against Pomona).
“Pretty much I won’t be satisfied with anything but winning the tournament,” said Frazier, who soon will depart to San Jacinto Junior College. “We’ve been close. We made the state tournament in the spring and were close in those games but lost in the end. We need to come back and win this state tournament.”
Feauto was nails-tough against a potent Rocky Mountain lineup. He permitted a mere two earned runs (four overall) in seven innings and struck out seven. He was rested from a baseball perspective after spending much of the summer gearing up for his starting quarterback job in the fall.
It was his third pitching start of the summer and third victory.
“I felt pretty fresh and my arm felt good,” said Feauto, who also went 3 for 5 with two RBIs. “I didn’t throw yesterday at (football) practice to make sure my arm was ready to go.”
Feauto found himself in a jam in the fourth, when a Knights error on a potential inning-ending double-play ball allowed Rocky Mountain to tie it 4-4. But Feauto retired the next two batters to halt the threat, then closed with three more innings of scoreless ball as the Fairview offense erupted.
“He really was a bulldog and just fought through it,” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “He kept coming at them.”
The tournament originally featured a double-elimination format but was shifted to single-elimination after rain wiped out the first two days. That means Fairview is two wins away from advancing to the Region 8 Tournament in Arizona.
The Knights believe it would be a fitting cap for a talented group. Among the departing seniors are Frazier, catcher Cannon Casey, infielder Jake Kearney and BoCoPreps.com Player of the Year Jeff Clarke, who rejoined the Knights for the tourney and went 3 for 5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
“They’ve put in a lot at this field for four years,” Feauto said. “All us underclassmen are trying to get it for them.”
Tied 4-4 entering the fifth, Fairview scored 11 runs in the next three innings to impose the mercy rule after eight. The Knights took a 5-4 lead on Feauto’s RBI single in the sixth, then Kearney added a two-run double and Tim Ryan a two-run single before the inning ended.
“We were frustrated early,” Harig said. “We were out in front a little bit. I think we were a little too geared up, but we settled down and started really raking it.”
Frazier and the fellow graduates know the days on their home diamond are dwindling. But they are not over yet.
“I think it will set in after,” he said. “Right now we’re just focusing on having fun, playing hard and hopefully winning.”
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Fairview 15, Rocky Mountain 4
At Fairview HS
Fairview 310 005 33 — 15 16 1
Rocky Mountain 101 200 00 — 4 6 1
W — Feauto. L — Soluerud.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Frazier 3-3-1-3, Harris 4-1-1-0, Madden 4-0-1-2, Ryan 4-2-2-2, Clarke 5-2-3-1, Casey 4-1-1-2, Thoning 5-1-2-0, Feauto 5-2-3-2, Kearney 4-3-2-2. 2B — Madden, Kearney. HR — Frazier (two on in 7th). SB — Frazier, Thoning, Feauto, Kearney.
Rocky Mountain hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Anderson 2-2-0-0, Ciraula 4-0-2-0, Sorenson 4-0-0-0, Bell 3-1-2-1, Soluerud 3-0-0-0, Maciel 1-0-0-0, Diehl 4-0-1-1, Breeze 4-0-2-0, Hyland 4-0-0-0, Olson 2-1-0-0, Gonzales 1-0-0-0. Totals 32-4-7-2. 2B — Diehl. SB — Anderson.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Feauto 7-6-4-2-5-7, Carpenter 1-1-0-0-0-1.
Rocky Mountain pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Alarid 1.1-3-4-4-2-1, Soluerud 4-4-3-3-1-1, O’Donnell 0.1-1-2-2-0-0, Chinnici 0-1 , Maciel 1.1-2-3-3-1-1, Ciraula 1-5-3-3-0-1.