BROOMFIELD — The Legacy baseball team had a game and-a-half’s worth of innings in their opening constest in which to work some swings earlier this week, and the Lightning somehow failed to score a run.
But on Saturday at their home field, Legacy only needed six frames to get two game’s worth of runs against a solid Brighton team.
Yep, that’s baseball.
Senior Ross Smith’s game-ending, walk-off grand slam in the sixth was a cherry on top of the cupcake in a 13-1 win over the Bulldogs, capping a 10-run inning and sending LHS to its first win in dramatic fashion.
A talented team coming off a 16-7 campaign, it was quite shocking to head coach Ty Giordano to see his squad come out of a game against Mullen with a 10-inning, 1-0 loss — with 14 strikeouts in the contest.
In stark contrast, Saturday’s effort included a variety of timely hits leading up to Smith’s resounding blast. In the big inning, Legacy had eight hits, including a bunt single and an opposite-field double.
Prior to that, Legacy gained a 2-0 lead as soon as the first inning on Blake Labuda’s single up the middle that was also misplayed by the Brighton fielder.
“The other day was a tough one to swallow, because you play that many innings and come up on the wrong end — you go back and look and see offensively, we didn’t swing the bats well and at times kept our bats on our shoulders,” Giordano said after the Brighton game, which featured something from everyone in the lineup. “We went to work Thursday, trying to get guys to be more aggressive offensively, perhaps not so picky, and I think it helped a little bit today. Guys weren’t fearing failure, and that led to success.”
“There was a lot of frustration against Mullen, but we’re all about staying positive because I think we’re seeing the ball well but we were just tensed up and nervous,” Smith said. “Even my first two at-bats, I didn’t do very well but tried to stay positive. I knew something would click, and it did and I ended up getting a hold of one.”
Both Mullen and Brighton served as regional opponents for Legacy last year, and the Bulldogs are known for being a solid team year in and year out. Right-hander Josh Kelnhofer was tasked with dealing with BHS on Saturday, and he simply got better as the game went on.
Kelnhofer allowed multiple baserunners in each of the first four innings, but only in the fourth did Brighton (0-2) plate a run, using small-ball tactics to score Dayton Reese and make it a 3-1 game.
Kelnhofer, who uses a couple different arm slots when he pitches, managed to retire the final seven batters in order, giving way to the offensive explosion in the sixth. He struck out seven and walked just one batter.
“Two games in a row our pitching has been outstanding and it’s allowing us to stay in baseball games,” Giordano said.
“We know that when (Kelnhofer) is pitching, no team is going to get very many hits, and as long as we stay semi-clean in the field without errors, we’re going to keep teams to a minimum amount of runs,” Smith said.
The Lightning join several other local teams heading down to Florida to play some spring break games, but Legacy will be quite busy with four games in five days. They return to the LHS field on April 3 to host Bear Creek, and then open Front Range League play on April 5 against Fairview.
Legacy 13, Brighton 1
At Legacy HS
Brighton000 100 — 1 6 3
Legacy200 10(10) — 13 9 1
W — Josh Kelnhofer. L — Brazzell.
Brighton hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Satler 3-0-2-1, Gu. Szafraniec 3-0-1-0, Velasquez 3-0-0-0, Ga. Szafraniec 3-0-1-0, Connolly 3-0-0-0, Reese 3-1-2-0, Mascarenas 2-0-0-0, Brazzell 1-0-0-0, Olivas 1-0-0-0, Schmeh 1-0-0-0. Totals 23-1-6-1.
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Josh Kelnhofer 4-1-1-2, Tyler Lyons 3-1-1-0, Ryan Overboe 2-3-1-0, Ross Smith 3-3-1-4, Blake Labuda 2-2-2-2, Dylan Grieson 2-1-1-0, Keenan O’Brien 2-0-0-1, McCully Sehr 2-0-0-0, Jack Wilmer 1-1-1-1, Chase Esplin 3-1-1-2. Totals 24-13-9-12. 2B — Esplin. HR —Smith.
Brighton pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Brazzell 3.2-1-3-1-4-3, Olivas 1.2-5-7-7-0-0, G. Szafraniec 0.0-3-3-3-1-0.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kelnhofer 6-6-1-1-1-7.