GREELEY — In his last start as a high schooler, Dalton Chandler’s pitching performance wasn’t a good as he would’ve like. When he left the mound, he knew that it was a performance that he was going to have to walk off.
And did he ever.
Chandler’s sky-high blast in the bottom of the seventh fell for a hit and Davin Jacobs scored from second to give Lamar a 6-5 win over University in the Class 3A baseball tournament, extending the squad’s season for another day.
“This has happened before,” Chandler said. “Against Jefferson Academy I had the same kind of opportunity and I was telling Kameron (Farmer) that if I get up, I just want to have confidence. So I told him I was doing it and I was scoring him. It was happening.”
It concluded a remarkable turnaround that saw Lamar (23-2 overall) score six runs in three innings after recording only two hits in the first four off University pitcher Colton Widler.
“We had been hitting him hard the entire time, we were just waiting for something to get through,” Chandler said.
University (22-3) used the triple as their primary scoring method in taking a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
Cameron Multer led off the second with a triple and scored when Koy Jorgensen grounded out to second two batters later. Andre Chacon walked to start the top of the fifth and scored when Levi Dart blasted a triple to right-center.
But back came Lamar in the bottom of the inning.
Colton Eberhardt was thrown out at home for the first out of the inning, but the next four hitters in the lineup all crossed home plate.
Down 5-2, University mounded a rally of its own in the sixth as Widler, Joe Medina and Chacon all scored to tie the game.
Lucas Watson and Max Carere each hit deep fly balls to the outfield, but they couldn’t quite carry the fence. Jacobs reached on a single and advanced to second when Andres Guevara walked.
After walking six and giving up four runs in 5.2 innings, Chandler had a chance to keep his team’s state championship hopes alive. And he took advantage.
“We battled,” assistant coach Craig Foreny said. “And this team has battled all season long. When the game is close it feels like they’re going to come through. This was a good team to do that against because it gives us a little more confidence going into tomorrow.”
Forney coached in place of Jason Veyna, who had to sit out after getting ejected from last week’s game against Peak to Peak.
Venya will be back in the dugout for Lamar on Saturday.
Lamar will open play on Saturday against Faith Christian who came away with a 5-4 win over Eaton on Friday.
The Eagles (21-4) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the second inning, highlighted by Tyler Mattingley’s three-RBI double. Faith scored four runs in the second inning, all coming with two outs.
“I knew that if we got to five runs, we had a pretty good chance to win the game,” Mattingley said.
Although it looked like the Eagles were going to get plenty of offense, Travis Cunningham shut them down for the rest of the game.
“You have to give it to their pitcher,” Faith coach Jim Polson said. “He made some adjustments and started making some great pitches. We just couldn’t string together enough quality at-bats to get some more runs in.”
The Reds (19-5) trend to put together a two-out rally of their own in the sixth. CJ Dlaskowski scored on a Dalton Logan triple, but Zeke Hass eventually flew out to center to end the inning.
They got one more run in the seventh, but Scott Grable was caught stealing Macklin Brockmeyer — who came in relief of Mattingley — retired the next two hitters to help the Eagles advance to Saturday’s games.
Both University and Lamar are in search of their first baseball championships since the late-1990’s. University last won in 1997 and Lamar’s last title came two years later in 1999.
Faith Christian won its last state baseball championship two years ago, beating Manitou Springs.
Faith Christian and Lamar are schedule for a 10 a.m. first pitch to start the final day of the 2018 baseball season on Saturday. The winner of that game will face University for the 3A state baseball championship that afternoon.