Falcon holds on to beat Lewis-Palmer in baseball for first time since 2013

0
Photo - Lewis-Palmer senior Iain Fraser (20) is thrown out at first on a play by Falcon senior Nate Bruntz (23) in the second inning. The Lewis-Palmer Rangers hosted the Falcon Falcons in boys' baseball on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at Lewis-Palmer High School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing
Lewis-Palmer senior Iain Fraser (20) is thrown out at first on a play by Falcon senior Nate Bruntz (23) in the second inning. The Lewis-Palmer Rangers hosted the Falcon Falcons in boys' baseball on Tuesday, March 21, 2017 at Lewis-Palmer High School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing

MONUMENT - Falcon squandered a big lead early on and watched another dwindle in the final outs.

In order to debunk four straight years of losing to Lewis-Palmer, the Falcons were forced to dig deep.

Brevin Owen was 4 for 4 with a grand slam and reached base five times, starter Gary Crist settled in after a rocky start and left with an 11-6 lead after six innings, but the Rangers still brought the winning run to the plate in the seventh before Falcon closed out an 11-9 victory at Ranger Field.

It was the Falcons' first win over L-P since April 27, 2013.

"They have a heart of a lion," Falcon coach Dana Reichers said of his team. "They want to win so badly that they battle their butts off every time."

Falcon (3-1, 1-0 4A/5A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference) broke open the game early when Owen turned on an outside fastball in the second and ripped it deep into the grim skyline to make it 5-1. But the Rangers (3-3, 0-1) rallied for five runs to take the lead in the bottom frame.

A while later, the Falcons retook the lead with a pair of two-run doubles from Darrian Escobar-Winter and Crist in the sixth, then got two more runs on a pair of throwing errors in the seventh.

Ryan Sacatelli closed out the win, allowing five of the first six batters to reach in the seventh before he induced a fly out and ground out to end Tuesday's game.

"We just had to bear down there at the end," Owen said. "We couldn't think about the win until it happened."

Well, it happened. It's the kind of resilient win that tended to avoid the Falcons in a 5-14 campaign last season. Now they'll need plenty more of these types of victories to reach the state tournament for the first time since 1977, per the state's historical records.

"I think we're all really caring about making each other better and playing for each other," said Crist, who allowed just one hit after the second inning. "I guess we are resilient."

Johnny Behm had three hits and drove in three runs for the Rangers, who have already lost twice at home this season after they were a perfect 22-0 at Ranger Field the prior three years. Brady Choban added two hits and two RBIs.

The Rangers rallied late for the second straight game only to slip in defeat. They scored a run in the seventh inning on Saturday to tie the game against La Junta but lost in the eighth.

"We are a pretty young team this year, so it bodes well for the future," L-P coach Brett Lester said. "The team has a lot of heart but needs to execute when we get the opportunity."

The teams will finish their season series at Falcon on Thursday.

"This will put a little fire into us," Behm said.