The rainstorm was ill-timed and threatened more than mere dampness.
With a little more moisture, the conditions could have turned into a key factor in the Front Range League baseball race.
Fortunately for those in Fairview red, the storm blew over quickly. That allowed ace Ryan Madden to remain in the game and the No. 3 Knights to complete a 7-4 win over defending-5A state champion Rocky Mountain, the top ranked team in the final AP media poll.
“I wasn’t too worried about it,” Madden said. “I was under the mindset that I was going back out there no matter what.”
Madden struck out 10 in a complete-game performance, and his fifth-inning homer staked the Knights to a 7-1 lead. He then allowed a mammoth two-run homer to New Mexico-bound Cole Anderson in the sixth and skated around trouble in the seventh to lock down his seventh win of the season.
“It’s typical,” Knights center fielder Tim Ryan said. “He did the same thing against Monarch. He does it all the time.”
The Knights (15-3, 10-1) can clinch the league outright with a win at Fort Collins on Monday. A loss would leave Fairview in a three-way tie for first with the FC and Rocky. With rain probable for much of next week, Monday’s game potentially could be moved up to 1 p.m.
For now, the Knights are just delighted they dodged weather issues in this one.
“Certainly you’re worried that it was going to rain for an hour,” Fairview coach Rick Harig said. “We were out of field-dry material since we used so much of it this week, so we wouldn’t have been able to take much water. We would have been stuck playing it on Monday before Fort Collins, up there probably.”
Fairview led 3-1 after four innings when the delay came. The Knights were a mere three outs away from an official game at that point. The delay lasted 45 minutes, and, after Madden recorded a quick top of the fifth, the Knights’ bats went to work in the bottom of the frame.
Johnny Feauto singled and scored on an RBI double by Ryan. Walker Harris followed with an RBI single then Madden launched a blast to center for his sixth homer the season. He joked afterwards that he finally caught Anderson in the homer race, then promptly surrendered Anderson’s seventh.
Rocky Mountain (13-5, 10-2) cut it to 7-4 on an RBI groundout from Kadin Breeze with the bases loaded in the seventh, which left first base open with two outs. After the no-brainer decision to intentionally walk Anderson, Madden struck out Daniel Ciraula to end it.
“Definitely more trouble than I wanted there,” Madden said. “Lost a little control, but I was able to come back and bear down.”
Things started inauspiciously as well when Anderson rocketed Madden’s first pitch of the game to left-center for a double. Then Madden picked him off second, but Anderson escaped the rundown. He then scored on an RBI single by John Sorenson, who took the loss on the mound for Rocky.
Fairview didn’t waste time battling back. Madden tied it with an RBI single in the bottom of the first and an infield RBI single by Steve D’Epagnier put the Knights ahead 2-1.
Things went smoothly for the Knights from there until the shaky bottom of the seventh. But Madden got the job done.
“That’s his make-up,” Harig said. “If you press on him a little bit he’s going to press back harder.”
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Fairview 7, Rocky Mountain 4
At Fairview HS
100 002 1 — 7 12 0
201 040 X — 4 8 1
W — Ryan Madden (7-1). L — John Sorenson (4-1).
Rocky Mountain hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cole Anderson 3-2-2-2, Daniel Ciraula 4-0-0-0, John Sorenson 3-0-1-1, Kyle Reisman 3-0-0-0, Chad Bell 2-1-1-0, Garrett Hammer 3-0-2-0, TJ Solverud 2-0-0-0, Easton Dolan 1-0–0-0, Alex Gonzales 3-0-2-0, Kadin Breeze 2-0-0-1, Brendan Paul 1-1-1-0. Totals 27-4-8-4. 2B — Anderson. HR — Anderson (one on in 6th).
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Johnny Feauto 4-1-1-0, Tim Ryan 4-2-2-1, Walker Harris 3-2-2-1, Ryan Madden 3-1-2-3, J.D. Stangoni 0-1-0-0, Jake Thoning 3-0-1-0, Steve D’Epagnier 3-0-2-1, Tobiah Armstrong 2-0-1-0, Mitch Tyse 3-0-1-0, Stone Streeter 3-0-0-0. Totals 28-7-12-6 2B — Harris, Ryan. HR — Madden (one on in 5th). SB — Ryan.
Rocky Mountain pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Sorenson 4-11-7-7-1-2, Ciraula 1-1-0-0-0-0, Breeze 1-0-0-0-0-0.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Madden 7-8-4-4-1-10.