After a handful of losses this season, Legacy coach Ty Giordano has been displeased with his team’s performance.
Thursday wasn’t one of them.
The visiting Lightning repeatedly put together good swings, good at-bats and line drives against Boulder pitching at Scott Carpenter Park. But the contest’s final moment, a line drive off the bat of Jordan Luthi that Boulder pitcher Ari Barnett speared to end it with a runner on third, typified the day for the Lightning in a 4-3 loss.
“Being able to make a play like that when the ball’s whistling back at you with the game on the line, you have to give the young pitcher a lot of credit,” Giordano said.
Giordano also deflected some credit to his Lightning squad, despite watching an early lead dissipate for the second time in three days. The Lighting (6-9 overall, 3-5 Front Range League) held a 3-0 lead against Monarch on Tuesday, but were shut out in the final five innings of an eventual 11-3 loss.
The Lightning jumped ahead 2-0 in this one on a first-inning homer by Matt Ayala and pushed the lead to 3-1 on Jared Crockett’s RBI double in the second. Although Legacy again was blanked in the final five, this one had a different feel.
“The other day, our goose eggs were the result of us not putting balls in play,” Giordano said. “Today, the goose eggs are a result of us stinging the ball all over the yard and them making plays.”
In addition to the final out, Boulder had an additional standout play in the seventh. Legacy’s Ryan Overboe led off the inning with a rocket, but Panthers second baseman Andrew McCarthy dove to his left to prevent a hit. It turned out to be a monster play, considering singles by Bradon O’Connor and Ayala later in the inning gave the Lightning runners on the corners with Luthi coming up.
McCarthy also robbed Luthi in the third inning, when he went up high to snare a rising liner.
“You make the routine play over and over again, then you’re going to make that superstar, SportsCenter, web-gem-type play,” Boulder coach Colt Sedbrook said.
Boulder (9-6, 5-3) mounted its winning rally in the fourth, just after Lightning starter Josh Chamberlain retired his eighth consecutive batter. The Panthers trailed 3-1 when catcher Max Bajza doubled home a run and McCarthy followed with a two-run single that stood up as the winner.
“I was just looking for something up to drive,” McCarty said. “Luckily he threw me a fastball on the outer half and I got through it and got it over the second baseman’s head.”
Standout catcher Wyatt Cross threw out two runners on back picks to highlight the effort of the Legacy defense.
Crockett and Ayala went a combined 4 for 8 atop the order, scored two runs and produced three RBIs. But the remainder of the Lightning order went 3 for 20 with one run scored. Then again, Luthi hit the ball hard in each of his four at-bats and came up empty handed.
In his first at-bat, his groundball was ticketed for center field but bounced off Boulder starting pitcher Cam Burke to third baseman Tommy Baumgartner, who threw him out.
“You can’t ask more than to square balls up,” Giordano said. “If they find green they find green. If they don’t, you tip your hat to the other team. We did a lot of that today.”
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Boulder 4, Legacy 3
At Scott Carpenter Park
Legacy 120 000 0 — 3 7 2
Boulder 100 300 X — 4 9 2
W — Cam Burke (2-0). L — Josh Chamberlain (0-4). Sv — Ari Barnett (1).
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jared Crockett 4-1-2-1, Matt Ayala 4-1-2-2, Jordan Luthi 4-0-0-0, Paul Thompson 3-0-0-0, Brandon Pearce 2-0-1-0, Grant Kauvar 3-0-0-0, Anthony Rouco 3-0-1-0, Josh Chamberlain 1-1-0-0, Ryan Overboe 1-0-0-0, Bradon O’Connor 3-0-1-0. 2B — Crockett, Rouco. HR — Ayala (one on in 1st).
Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Tommy Baumgartner 4-1-2-0, Montana Guegan 4-0-1-0, Ari Barnett 3-0-0-1, Kelby Woodard 3-0-2-0, Aiden Chandler 3-1-1-0, Dana Sullivan 2-1-1-0, Max Bajza 3-1-1-1, Andrew McCarthy 2-0-1-2, Jordan Wardell 2-0-0-0, Adam Stowe 0-0-0-0. Totals 26-4-9-4. 2B — Bajza. SB — Sullivan.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Chamberlain 5-9-4-4-0-3, Jordan Comstock 1-0-0-0-2-0.
Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Cam Burke 5-5-3-3-1-2, Barnett 2-2-0-0-0-1.