LAFAYETTE -- Longmont/Erie players thought the best way to avoid an early letdown in the first game of the 2012 Colorado Connie Mack State Tournament was to make sure they focused on having good at-bats.
Accomplishing their goal, the Longmont/Erie hitters racked up 13 hits and nine walks to beat Onefifteen 11-4 on Wednesday and advance in the winners bracket of the double-elimination tournament.
Longmont/Erie three-hole hitter Josh Crist was particularly sharp and led the club by going 4 for 5 with three doubles. The right-handed-hitting Crist drove two doubles to left center and one to right center. He scored three runs and drove in another.
"It was like a beach ball today," Crist said. "I was trying to sit back and put a good swing on the ball and the hits were falling. Usually, I roll over a lot so I've been working on letting the ball travel. They had a pretty fast pitcher on the mound, so that helps."
Head coach Harrold Simmons said Longmont/Erie's game plan was to take a lot of pitches. Leadoff hitter Cameron Yee demonstrated the lineup's adherence to the plan by working a walk on nine pitches to open the game.
Yee's patience, three more free passes from Onefifteen starter Chris Sievers and a Crist single earned Longmont/Erie a 2-0, first-inning lead. Since Onefifteen swept a doubleheader 6-3, 8-6 against Longmont/Erie on July 4 during the regular season, a slow start wasn't an option for Longmont/Erie.
The Longmont/Erie lineup scored three runs in the third, single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth, and three more in the seventh. Joey Cinea, Tyler Lee, Ryan Fesmire and Kyler Leroux each had two hits.
"We've been struggling for the past couple weeks and today I feel like we got our swings back," Crist said. "It's nice to come back and put a win one them."
After he allowed two runs on three walks and one hit in the first to negate an early two-tun lead, Longmont/Erie starter Chad Taormina allowed only two more runs over the next four innings. Taormina, a late addition to the roster from the CO Connie Mack National League-opponent Colorado Bandits per the tournament rules, said he just had to find his control.
"I just couldn't find the strike zone," said Taormina, who just graduated from Arvada West. "I just settled in and relaxed, not trying to other-throw my stuff, and started throwing strikes and getting ground balls. I had a great defense out there. They stopped everything. If they're gonna put runs on the board, I gotta throw strikes."
Relief pitcher Brett Sterkel held Onefifteen scoreless on two hits through the final two innings.
Longmont/Erie developed a reputation for coming out unfocused in doubleheaders during the regular season. For Simmons, seeing his team enthusiastic from start to finish in its first tournament game was just what he wanted.
"Good intensity is what started it," Simmons said. "We talked about that the other day because we kept coming out in the first game and our intensity has been really low. We've been losing a lot of first games and coming back and winning the second. So, this morning in BP we got their butts up and we got going. We played hard, those guys made mistakes and we used our speed to capitalize on those mistakes."
Longmont/Erie will face Slammers-North in the next round at 10 a.m. Thursday at Peak to Peak High School. If Longmont/Erie wins, the team will play again at 3 p.m. at Regis High School. A loss would drop Longmont Erie into the losers bracket for a 3 p.m. game at Peak to Peak.
Follow Brad on Twitter: @BradCochi
Longmont/Erie 11, Onefifteen 4
At Peak to Peak H.S.
Longmont/Ere 203 111 3 -- 11 13 1
Onefifteen 200 020 0 -- 4 7 3
W -- Taormina. L -- Sievers.
Longmont/Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Yee 3-1-0-1, Cinea 4-2-2-1, Crist 5-3-4-1, Lee 3-2-2-2, Dudley 3-1-1-2, Fesmire 5-0-2-1, Leroux 5-0-2-3, Amen 4-0-0-0, Baker 1-1-0-0, Conilogue 0-0-0-0, Zamudio 1-0-0-0, Willden 0-1-0-0. Totals 34-11-13-11. 2B -- Crist 3. SB -- Lee 2, Crist.
Onefifteen hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) -- Medina 1-2-0-0, Whitfield 4-1-3-0, White 3-0-0-1, Sievers 2-0-0-1, Karlin 4-0-1-1, Engelhaupt 2-0-1-1, Moquin 4-0-0-0, Osgood 2-0-0-0, Rouco 2-0-1-0, Buetell 3-0-1-0, Poncetta 0-1-0-0. Totals 27-4-7-4. 2B -- Buetell, Karlin.
Longmont/Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Taormina 5-5-4-4-6-5, Sterkel 2-2-0-0-0-0.
Onefifteen pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) -- Sievers 3-6-6-6-6-2, Buetell 4-7-5-5-3-2.