BROOMFIELD — It may not have been the type of walk-off victory the Legacy baseball team preferred, but the Lightning players weren’t complaining, mind you.
Indeed, they were celebrating Saturday after a 7-6 walk-off balk win over Bear Creek even as the umpire and the Bears were loudly jawing with one another.
With Legacy having the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the seventh in its home opener, submarine pitcher Chris Cordova of Bear Creek was called for a balk as he was delivering to Legacy’s Ryan Overboe. Overboe’s fly ball was caught by the left fielder, but by then the game had been decided.
And as it turned out, Legacy’s last two runs scored on balks.
“Obviously we’re happy we won the game, but at the same time you like never seeing a game (decided) by a balk on either side,” LHS coach Ty Giordano said. “You like seeing the kids play it out. But it is what it is. The umpire made the call, so you just go with it.
“We’re happy for the victory, but I would have had more happiness if my lefty up there had just stroked a single to win it.”
In any case, Legacy (3-4) has won its last three games after starting the season 0-4. The Lightning was outscored 32-6 in those first four, but has rung up 21 runs in the three games since, compared to 10 for its opponents.
Legacy came into Saturday hitting just .184 for the season, but it managed 11 hits against Bear Creek.
The Lightning trailed 4-0 midway through the fourth inning, with two of BC’s runs coming on a dropped infield fly ball with the bases loaded in the fourth.
Junior Paul Thompson got things rolling for LHS in the bottom of the inning with a home run to left, Legacy’s first round-tripper of the season. Then things really started popping in the fifth inning as Legacy pulled ahead with four more runs.
Thompson again provided the spark with a bases-loaded single that scored two. He later helped LHS add another run when he stole second and drew a throw from the catcher, opening up Jordan Luthi to come home from third.
“I just knew I had to do something to get those guys in, whether it was getting something through or getting a deep fly ball to score one,” said Thomson, who finished 2 for 3, with three RBIs and three runs scored. “I was just trying to get something done for my team.
“I’m proud of the way we came back and fought today.”
Nick Atkins-Griffey scored on a balk in the sixth to put Legacy up 6-4, but the Lightning had a tough time getting the last out in the seventh and Bear Creek scored twice in the top of that inning.
That set the stage for Thompson to score the game-winning run. He got aboard on a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and made it to third on a single by Brandon Pearce. After the Lightning loaded the bases, the balk was called on Cordova.
“To be honest, I couldn’t really tell you if (the call) was right or wrong,” Bear Creek coach Sean Hoorelbeke said. “I know that it happened, and it’s something we’ve got to deal with. … Those are tough pills to swallow.”
Said Thompson: “Whether that guy balked or not, I had confidence in our team. We were going to score. We were going to get it done.”
Joining Thompson in collecting multiple hits for Legacy on Saturday were were Jared Crockett (2 for 3, with the win on the mound) and Grant Kauvar (2 for 3).
“Timely hitting is key in baseball, and we did a nice job today when the situation counted to have some timely hits,” Giordano said. “I think we’re trending in the right direction.”
Legacy, which played five straight games in Florida before Saturday, will begin Front Range League play Tuesday at 4 p.m. when it hosts Fossil Ridge.
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Legacy 7, Bear Creek 6
At Legacy HS
Bear Creek 101 200 2 — 6 9 2
Legacy 000 141 1 — 7 11 3
W — Crockett (1-1). L — Madrid.
Bear Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Hiep 5-2-4-1, Carr 5-0-1-1, Martinez 4-0-2-0, Valdez 0-1-0-0, Bonato 3-0-2-2, Grant 3-0-0-0, Rumsey 3-0-0-0, Runkle 3-0-0-0, Pigati 0-1-0-0, Cavallo 3-0-0-0, Madrid 2-2-0-0. Totals 31-6-9-4. 2B — Bonato 2.
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Ayala 4-1-1-0, Crockett 3-1-2-0, Luthi 4-1-1-0, Thompson 3-3-2-3, Pearce 3-0-1-0, Kauvar 3-0-2-1, Cross 0-0-0-0, Jaramillo 1-0-0-0, McDaniel 2-0-1-0, Overboe 0-0-0-0, Atkins-Griffey 3-1-1-0, O’Connor 2-0-0-0. Totals 28-7-11-4. HR — Thompson (solo in 4th). SB — Ayala, Thompson, Pearce.
Bear Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Pigati 4.2-8-5-4-2-8, Grivette 1.1-2-1-1-0-1, Madrid 0.1-1-1-1-1-0, Cordova 0-0-0-0-1-0.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Luthi 3-4-2-2-1-2, McDaniel 2.2-3-2-0-3-1, Crockett 1.1-2-2-2-3-0.