BOULDER — It was a scare.
Both for the Fairview baseball team from a big-picture perspective and for Mitch Tyse on the bizarre play that turned out to be the winner in the Knights’ 5-4, nine-inning home win Tuesday against Legacy.
“I would hope that the game wouldn’t have been as close, because it’s a team we should be beating every time,” Tyse said. “But the fact that we got it done is all that’s important.”
The Knights, ranked No. 3 in the AP media poll, had to have this one in order to keep their ambitions alive in the Front Range League title race. Pesky Legacy (7-10, 4-6) hung around until Tyse scored from second after seemingly becoming yet another back-pick victim of Legacy catcher Wyatt Cross.
“It was kind of a last-minute thing, like ‘Oh (shoot), what do I do,'” Tyse said.
Standing just shy of 6-foot-5, Tyse put together his fourth solid plate appearance of the day to lead off the bottom of the ninth. He singled to center against Josh Chamberlain, the fourth Legacy pitcher.
On second base after Stone Streeter sacrificed and was safe at first on an error, the North Carolina-bound Cross caught Tyse straying off second base and fired a heat-seeking strike to the bag. Cross’s on-the-money throw ricocheted off the glove of the second baseman and into the shallow left-center field.
By the time shortstop Matt Ayala retrieved it, Tyse was rounding third and he beat the throw home.
“It wasn’t by design by coaches, but something got into him and he did it,” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “Their catcher has the best arm in the state and he picks off a lot of guys, so I don’t know if Mitch got surprised or not.”
Tyse also hit a sacrifice fly, doubled and drew a walk. After his double in the fifth, he scored the tying run on Tim Ryan’s RBI single. He made a diving catch in right field as well.
Legacy had jumped ahead 4-3 in the fifth on an RBI single by Jordan Luthi and two-run single by Paul Thompson (2 for 4 with three RBIs).
With league-leading Rocky Mountain set to play at Fairview on Saturday in what could amount to a league-title game, the Knights (13-3, 8-1) couldn’t afford to give one away. That’s why Johnny Feauto, who was scheduled to start at Fossil Ridge on Thursday, had to come in and pitch the final three innings. He allowed one hit, struck out four and threw 39 pitches.
“Heading into the ninth he told me he couldn’t throw much more and still start Thursday,” Harig said. “I told him, ‘There is no Thursday. Today’s first.’ We were going to sell out and try to get the game.”
As it is, Feauto will likely be deployed in relief on Thursday with ace Ryan Madden set to start against No. 1 Rocky.
Legacy escaped a few key jams, including the bottom of the eighth. Fairview’s Walker Harris tripled with one out and the Lightning intentionally walked the next two hitters. Chamberlain fanned Steve D’Epagnier and Tobiah Armstrong to keep the Lightning afloat.
“I just told the boys they have to be extremely proud of the effort today,” Legacy coach Ty Giordano said. “You come out and hold that team to (six) hits? Our pitching staff was outstanding. We had a game plan together and we did a pretty good job.”
Fairview 5, Legacy 4 (9 inn.)
At Fairview HS
000 130 000 — 4 8 3
110 110 001 — 5 6 1
W — Johnny Feauto (5-0). L — Josh Chamberlain (0-5).
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jared Crockett 4-1-0-0, Matt Ayala 4-1-1-0, Jordan Luthi 4-1-1-1, Paul Thompson 4-0-2-3, Brandon Pearce 3-0-0-0, Dario DeSantis 0-0-0-0, Grant Kauvar 2-0-0-0, Anthony Rouco 4-0-1-0, Ryker McDaniel 3-0-0-0, Josh Chamberlain 1-0-0-0, Bradon O’Connor 4-1-3-0. Totals 33-4-8-4. 2B — Ayala.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Johnny Feauto 4-0-0-0, Tim Ryan 3-1-1-1, Walker Harris 4-0-2-1, Ryan Madden 3-1-1-0, Jake Thoning 2-1-0-1, Steve D’Epagnier 3-0-0-0, Tobiah Armstrong 3-0-0-0, Mitch Tyse 2-2-2-1, Stone Streeter 2-0-0-0. Totals 26-5-6-4. 2B — Tyse. 3B — Madden, Harris. SB — Ryan.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jordan Comstock 2-1-2-1-2-0, McDaniel 3-3-2-2-0-1, Ryan Overboe 1.2-0-0-0-1-1, Chamberlain 1.1-2-1-0-2-2.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Tyler Carpenter 5-6-4-4-3-3, Teddy Lewitt 1-1-0-0-0-0, Feauto 3-1-0-0-1-4.