In perhaps the biggest statement of the young baseball season so far, Fairview upset top-ranked Regis Jesuit on Monday afternoon.
"Before the game we had kind of a rough in-and-out and I could see the nerves happening and I just told them, you can only control what you can control — yourself," said first-year Fairview coach Dave Castillo. "The key is to keep the game simple. Catch the ball, throw the ball, hit the ball. Don’t let your nerves get in the way of that and relax — play the game."
Junior Tyler Carpenter went 3-for-5 with four RBIs to lead Fairview. He also got the win on the mound, allowing eight runs in four innings, and striking out six.
"We came in looking to upset that team," Carpenter said.
Fairview's offense pounded out 22 hits. Seven players had multi-hit games.
Sam McGill, Fairview's junior catcher, went 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Jake Willemsen was 3-for-4 with three RBIs and a home run.
"Having a strong offensive team is great," Carpenter said. "I'm glad we put up all the runs because they're strong offensively, too. We just out-hit them today."
Carpenter added that "we kept trying to win each inning."
It was a mentality that helped. Fairview's lineup produced runs in every inning but the third. And it was resilient.
Regis Jesuit had two rallies that had the potential to change the game, but the Knights responded each time.
Regis turned a 3-0 hole into a 4-3 lead in the first. So Fairview answered with a four-run second inning.
Then, down 7-3 in the third, the Raiders tied the game at 7. Fairview came back with six runs in the top of the fourth.
The Knights' lead grew to 18-8 following a five-run fifth inning, and Fairview looked to be in position for a mercy-rule-shortened win, but Regis Jesuit's Jimmy Holinger hit a grand slam to make it 18-13.
Fairview added a run in the sixth, and then the two teams each plated two in the seventh.
"Regis is always a perennial powerhouse and they will never give up. I didn't expect anything different from them," Castillo said. "I've been (in Colorado) long enough to understand that they never give up and it shows that's the type of coaching and type of program they have. We knew that, and we were close to run ruling them, but it was a dogfight.
"They put up runs, we put up runs — it was a great game to watch."
What's more: Fairview did much of its damage against Bo Weiss, Regis Jesuit's 6-foot-3 senior ace who is committed to North Carolina, and is arguably the best player in the state. Weiss allowed 13 runs (11 earned) on 12 hits in 3 2/3 innings.
"Going in, when we heard that it was Bo Weiss throwing against us, kinda got a little nervous," Fairview's McGill said.
"Great pitcher," Carpenter added.
"That's why you play this game," Castillo said, "is to face the best. You go up there and give it your all and see what happens."
Fairview is now 3-3, though all three losses came two weeks ago during the team's annual trip to play a tournament in Arizona. The Knights are 2-0 against in-state teams.
Fairview begins its league play on Saturday with a game at Poudre.
"I think this is going to give us a lot of confidence, we really bonded as a team through this," McGill said. "We're hitting the ball everywhere, we're playing well."
Additional reporting by Cannon Casey.