LAKEWOOD — Facing elimination for a third straight game, Fairview again turned the baseball over to southpaw Finley Daecher on Thursday morning.
The No. 2 arm in the Knights’ rotation scattered 10 hits to allow just two runs in his latest gem on the mound as No. 8 seeded Fairview topped high-powered No. 4 Mountain Vista, 4-2, at Keli McGregor Field at Coca Cola All-Star Park to reach the final day of the Class 5A postseason.
“It’s win or go home, and we just wanted to make it to the last day of the season and that’s where we are,” said Daecher, who also helped his team stave off a postseason exit the last two games of last weekend, allowing one earned run in a five-inning win over Legacy before adding two more scoreless frames in a victory over Broomfield. “We fight hard, we’re gritty, we lay down bunts, we execute and we win games to play another day.”
That’s been the Knights’ motto since losing their opener in this double-elimination bracket a week ago.
Following the loss to No. 1 Heritage, Fairview bounced back to win two straight games last weekend to save its season and stand as one of four remaining teams. Down to three teams by Friday’s games, they’ll need two more victories to claim their first state title in baseball since 1993.
In Game 1 at McGregor Field, Fairview will face No. 6 Valor Christian, who eliminated Fort Collins on Thursday with a 10-1 victory. The Golden Eagles of MVHS, who had raced out to three straight wins in the postseason before falling to the Knights, will await one of them in the finale.
“We just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” Daecher said. “With the two games we won last Saturday, we did the same exact thing this morning. Same warmup just to kind of keep us loose, and keep our minds in it.”
Daecher (5-1), second in innings on the staff only to ace Greysen Carter, kept his strong 2021 postseason intact against an offense that had scored a combined 34 runs through its first three postseason games.
The senior — who described his pitching as a little “side-armed and whacky” compared to the straight-up heat brought by Carter — allowed an RBI single to Sam Krysa in the second for the game’s first run, then danced around traffic through his final 4 2/3 innings.
Daecher allowed a baserunner in each inning but stranded 11. In three of the innings, the Golden Eagles left runners in scoring position.
He departed with two outs in the seventh and runners on the corners for Anton Keith, who induced a flyout to close things.
“(Daecher) has been awesome,” Fairview coach David Castillo said. “He’s been really relaxed. He’s a senior and has been in our program a long time, even our feeder program. It’s been amazing to see him grow up. Just how he keeps his cool on the mound. There’s a lot of emotions in these games and he always keeps it under control.”
It was the first loss handed to Mountain Vista starter Blake Shepardson (3-1) this season.
Marcus Orlando drove in a run on a lined single as part of a two-run fourth to give the Knights their first lead. Luke Silverman then chased Shepardson with two outs in the sixth on a two-run single to make it 4-1.
Mountain Vista, with one last push, responded in the seventh. Sean Marlow drove a two-out RBI double off Daecher before Travis Sprinkle’s ensuing infield single chased the starter. Keith, though, needed six pitches to put away Trey Dunn, who flew out to centerfield.
Fairview opens at 10 a.m. Friday.