LOUISVILLE — With the Colorado American Legion baseball state tournament less than a week away in Greeley, the Fairview summer club is using the last few games to fine tune in preparation for a potential championship run.
The Monarch summer club, which is almost entirely comprised or up-and-coming junior varsity players, is fighting for its life just to get in.
On Thursday evening at Monarch High School, Fairview defeated Monarch 11-1. Given the outcomes the longtime local rivalry has seen, the loss was potentially devastating for one club’s morale and quite beneficial for the other’s.
“I tell my guys to play the game hard and whatever the result is at the end of the day, I’m happy as long as they do that,” Fairview coach David Castillo said. “Today, we were obviously on the upside of it. We got the opportunity to play some of our younger guys and we liked what we saw.
“We’re making sure everyone is comfortable and getting the nerves out before the tournament. In a tournament like that, you’re only going to be as strong as your weakest link so we’re trying to use this last week as preparation.”
While several of the Knights’ younger players got a chance to make an impact against Monarch, it was 2014 graduate Mike Vlasity who shut down Monarch on the mound.
A right-handed submariner, Vlasity is still eligible for Legion play this summer because he has yet to turn 18-years old. On Thursday, he allowed just a solo home run to Monarch’s Thomas Campeau in the third inning.
“Mikey is an older guy and he’s been around for a while so he’s pretty savvy,” Castillo said. “He’s a tough guy to hit because he may not be super overpowering but he’s very deceptive. Mikey always calls the game on his own and he’s one of the older guys we like to have around as an example.”
Fairview, which has amassed 26 runs in its last two games, scored in every inning Thursday. Capping a five-run top of the fifth, Jake Thoning doubled to drive in Ryan Madden and activate the 10-run mercy rule.
“They’re an older team and we’re a very young, inexperienced team so it’s tough to match up with them,” Monarch coach Dave Atkin said. “But facing good competition like that is the way our guys are going to get better.”
After splitting a doubleheader with Pomona on Tuesday, Monarch entered the game with a two-game lead on Pomona for the final berth to the Legion A state tournament. On Thursday, three Monarch pitchers combined to walk seven Fairview batters.
Remaining on the schedule for Monarch is a doubleheader against Grand Junction-based Gene Taylor’s on Saturday and a single game against Fairview on Sunday.
“We’ve got a few more tough games so we’re gonna have to come to play,” Atkin said.
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Fairview 11, Monarch 1
At Monarch HS
113 15 — 11 9 2
001 00 — 1 1 2
W — Vlasity. L — Stockbauer.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Ryan 3-3-1-0, Erickson 3-2-1-2, Madden 4-2-3-4, Thoning 3-1-1-1, Tyse 1-1-1-2, Liston 1-1-0-0, Carpenter 2-1-0-1, Sheridan 1-0-1-0, Mossa 2-0-0-0, McGill 2-0-1-1, Lewitt 2-0-0-0, Owens 0-1-0-0. Totals 24-11-9-11. 2B — Madden 2, Erickson, Thoning, Tyse. SB — Madden.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Stockbauer 3-0-0-0, Light 3-0-0-0, Berohn 2-0-0-0, Flynn 2-0-0-0, Isenhower 2-0-0-0, Berghoefer 0-0-0-0, Grigsby 2-0-0-0, Seebaum 2-0-0-0, Campeau 2-1-1-1. Totals 18-1-1-1. HR — Campeau (solo in third).
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Vlasity 5-1-0-0-2-4.
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Stockbauer 3.1-5-6-5-3-4, Hoban 0.2-1-3-3-4-1, Seebaum 1-3-2-2-0-0.