Just as Fairview senior Greysen Carter admired his third inning go-ahead grand slam in Monday’s Class 5A Region 2 championship, the Knights are admiring a spot in the 5A state baseball tournament for the first time since 2014.
Fueled by Carter’s big hit and some late-inning small ball, the Knights (13-3, 9-2) knocked off Mullen, 12-8, in a back and forth affair at Fairview High.
“It was a really tough battle today,” said Fairview head coach David Castillo. “It was up and down like an emotional roller coaster, but I’m glad we came out on top.”
The coaster dipped quickly for the Knights as Carter, a Vanderbilt University commit, took the mound and relinquished two runs in the top of the first. Carter settled in nicely, however, and struck out five Mustangs in 3 2/3 innings.
“They just made good contact and they happened to fall inside the lines,” Carter said. “But you can’t let those go to your head, you have to keep on moving.”
With Mullen up 2-0 in the third, FHS nine-hole hitter and senior Fin Daecher pulled a double to lay the tinder for a seven-run inning. After Daecher scored on a balk, senior JD Jones was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Carter then made Mullen pay with his sixth home run of the year to give Fairview a 5-2 lead.
“These last couple games you got to put it all out and the team did that,” Carter said.
Later in the inning, Daecher knocked in two more runs with his second hit of the frame to give Fairview a 7-2 lead. Daecher said he embraced the role of being the Knights’ “second leadoff hitter” at the bottom of the order.
But Mullen, which was riding an 11-game win streak, scored three in the fourth inning and then three in the fifth courtesy of junior Trevor Moore’s three-run home run. Moore’s blast over the left field fence put the Mustangs up 8-7.
Senior Adam Moser, a University of Oklahoma commit who led Fairview with three hits on the day, started off the Knights’ portion of the fifth with a single. He later scored the game’s equalizer on a Travis Rasmussen double.
Castillo was impressed with his team’s ability to recover from another dip in the rollercoaster.
“They just got more focused,” Castillo said. “They knew what they had to do and had quality at-bats.”
Fairview’s focus leached onto the basepaths when Rasmussen scored the ultimate go-ahead run on a first and third deke play resulting in a steal of home.
The Knights later tacked on three more runs and held a 12-8 lead entering the seventh inning. Daecher, who came in to pitch in the fourth inning, used his deceptive lefthanded sidearm delivery to secure the win.
Castillo said rest and recovery will be crucial before Fairview begins its quest for its first state title since 1993 on Friday.