BOULDER – It ended for Mullen on a sunny, scorching Monday, coming up short in a slugfest to host Fairview in the Class 5A regionals.
The Mustangs had their 11-game winning streak halted as well as their highly unusual 2021 campaign in the new Season D (because of the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic) with a 12-8 defeat to the Knights. It capped their record at a crisp 14-4 as well as a game short of the big-school double-elimination rounds (Championship Series) that will begin later this week.
Acknowledging the high-end accomplishments was put on hold for a bit as the sting of a season-ending loss took immediate priority.
“Eleven in a row,” Mustangs head coach Nick Arcuri said after the final meeting with team while it was in uniform. “We couldn’t get No. 12. It’s baseball.”
Mullen didn’t go down without a fight … or without providing considerable excitement.
In the region’s opener, junior shortstop Andrew Brady created a lifetime memory in the bottom of the sixth inning. With the bases loaded and his team trailing by a run, he got down 0-2 in the count, worked it back to full and suddenly ripped a grand slam to left field to top a quite dramatic 7-3 victory over Dakota Ridge, a Jefferson County team the Mustangs had 10-run-ruled on the road on June 2.
Starter Henry Stewart got late help from Chase Brickley on the mound.
And in the final, which came with a highly anticipated pitching matchup between a couple of smoke-throwers, the Mustangs’ Trevor Moore, a junior committed to Stanford, vs. the Knights’ Graysen Carter, signed with Vanderbilt, evolved only briefly as both were tagged for a rash of base runners as well as higher pitch counts in the early going.
Fittingly, both also hit home runs, big ones. After Mullen jumped on Carter for two runs in the first inning, Fairview erupted for seven in the third, including a mortar shot to right field by the left-handed-hitting Carter for a grand slam, and a three-run skyscraper to left by the right-handed-batting Moore that gave Mullen its final lead, at 8-7.
However, that was it for the Mustangs, who also couldn’t keep the Knights off the bases. They used three pitchers and were guilty of multiple miscues in the field (in both games) that hurt.
Brady had three hits against Fairview, including a double, and Stewart had two safeties, one a two-run single.
“This was a great group of kids to be around, they were fun and they worked their tails off,” Arcuri said, pointing to earning a piece of the Centennial League title, coming with .001 of a point of being a host in the ever-changing, convoluted postseason qualification as well as being junior-dominated. Overall, the Mustangs are looking at losing only one regular in the field and one in the regular pitching rotation that was deep.
“We’ll be all right,” the coach said.
MULLEN 7, DAKOTA RIDGE 4
Dakota Ridge 000 130 0 – 4 9 3
Mullen 030 040 x – 7 10 1
Mullen batting – Sage Hurley 3-1-1-0, Ben Krza 3-0-2-2, Andres Terrones-Garcia 3-1-0-0, Andrew Brady 4-1-2-4, Henry Stewart 4-0-0-0, Colin MacKenzie 4-1-2-0, Trevor Moore 4-0-2-0, Luca Maffoni 2-1-1-0, Owen Marsh 2-1-0-0, Jackson Riley-Combs 0-1-0-0, Chase Brickley 0-0-0-0. Totals 28-7-10-6.
E – Maffoni. DP – Mullen. LOB -- Mullen 6. BB – Terrones-Garcia, Marsh. HR – Brady, grand slam in 6th.
Pitching – Stewart 4.2 IP, 4 R, 4 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 5 Ks; Brickley (w) 2 IP, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K; Marsh .1, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0B 1 K. Save – Marsh.
FAIRVIEW 12, MULLEN 8
Mullen 200 330 0 – 8 10 4
Fairview 007 032 x – 12 12 1
Mullen batting – Sage Hurley 3-0-0-0, Ben Krza 3-0-0-1, Andres Terrones-Garcia 4-1-1-0, Andrew Brady 3-2-3-0, Henry Stewart 4-1-2-2, Colin MacKenzie 4-0-1-1, Trevor Moore 3-2-1-3, Luca Maffoni 2-1-1-0, Owen Marsh 3-1-2-0, Dom Gamueda 1-0-0-0, Chase Brickley 0-0-0-0. Totals 31-8-10-7.
E – Brady, Maffoni, Marsh. LOB – Mullen 6. BB – Moore, Brady, Maffoni. 2B – Brady, Stewart, marsh. HR – Moore, 2 on in fifth.
Pitching – Moore 2.2 IP, 7 R, 5 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 4 ZKs; Brickley (L) 1.2 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1K; Marsh; 1.2 IP, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 1 K. HBP – Hurley. Balk – Moore.