LONGMONT — A perfect day for baseball at the Longmont field on Thursday afternoon certainly didn't mean the baseball itself was pristine.
Heck, even Silver Creek's Cole Winn — who entered Thursday's game having struck out 42 of the 72 batters he'd faced so far this season — pitched well but was not completely on against the host Trojans.
Between LHS and Raptors there were plenty of baserunners to work with in the Northern League game, but it was the visiting Raptors that made the most of late chances in a 9-2 win that kept them on pace with front-running Northridge.
Max Browne finished off a six-run sixth inning with a Little League grand slam — crossing the plate after a throwing error on a two-out triple with the bases loaded — and the senior had four RBI overall to highlight Silver Creek's jump to 6-1 in the Northern and 8-4 overall.
"I think we know we have the skill to face any team out there and I think that today was about getting ahead in the count and hitting the ball, being aggressive towards the fastball," said Browne, who will find himself among the state's RBI leaders when he wakes up in the morning as he now has 17 in 12 games. "We didn't let emotions of a cross-town game get to our heads, and we were smart at the plate. We got some (sacrifices) down, just did good team baseball.
"It might have been a little hot and cold, but we got the job done."
Browne's triple was one of five extra-base hits Silver Creek posted off a pair of Longmont pitchers, but early on the Trojans were able to keep the big swings from being costly. Noah Befus was aided by double plays in the second and third frames, and in the fourth stanza managed to keep Browne at third base after a one-out double.
Winn, on the other hand, also got a big double play in the fourth inning as Longmont had runners at first and third with just one out after they had tied the game at 1-1. He pitched the fifth after SCHS had regained a 3-1 lead and surrendered another run, striking out four while walking a pair and allowing four hits.
The late innings were polar opposites from there. Silver Creek's Dylan Ordway faced the minimum six batters in the final two innings — he induced a tailor-made double play to end the sixth — while the Raptors offense finally put the game away.
Bottom-of-the-order hitters Spencer Rich and Cade Call worked their way on base to start the sixth, and a sacrifice bunt by Tanner Olinger resulted in a throwing error and two unearned runs. The Raptors loaded the bases again before Browne came up and gapped one to right-center.
Browne had scored in the second inning after reaching on an error as well.
"The errors were the story of the day, and that's something we haven't had a whole lot of so far this year. But it's a part of baseball and with a Cole Winn on the mound you can't do that," Longmont head coach Tom Fobes said after the Trojans (5-3, 4-3) dropped their third straight. "I thought we did great job at the plate against Cole, and we were confident in the box and had decent swings on him. We had a couple balls that maybe would be hits on another day, but good at-bats against a very good pitcher."
The series resumes at Silver Creek on Saturday at noon.
Silver Creek 9, Longmont 2
At Longmont HS
Silver Creek010 026 0 — 9 7 3
Longmont000 110 0 — 2 4 4
W — Cole Winn. L — Noah Befus. S — Dylan Ordway.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — George Ramirez 5-0-1-0, Chris Smedley 3-2-1-1, Sam Elting 0-0-0-0, Cole Winn 1-1-0-0, Rex Olinger 1-0-0-0, Travis Bicknell 3-0-0-0, Max Browne 3-2-2-4, Nick Gambirasi 2-0-0-0, Brandon Ketchum 1-0-0-0, Spencer Rich 4-1-2-1, Cade Call 3-2-1-0, Tanner Olinger 1-1-0-0. Totals 27-9-7-6. 2B —Ramirez, Smedley, Browne, Call. 3B —Browne. SB —Elting 2, Rich.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Matt Zamudio 3-0-1-1, Brady Renck 3-1-1-0, Noah Befus 3-0-1-1, Avery Peterson 2-0-0-0, Zach Trosper 0-0-0-0, Hayden Carson 3-0-0-0, Dagin Renck 3-0-0-0, Chris Gumeson 3-0-0-0, Alec Thompson 1-1-1-1, Austin Hassler 1-0-0-0, Kascen Deeter 1-0-0-0. 2B — Befus.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Winn 5-4-2-2-2-4, Ordway 2-0-0-0-0-0.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Befus 5-6-6-1-5-0, Peterson 2-1-3-0-1-2.