LONGMONT — The Longmont baseball team is starting to get used to the nail-biters.
Thursday's rivalry game at Silver Creek, however, took that to another level.
A well-played game in just about all respects, the Trojans walked off the SCHS ball field with a 3-2 Northern League victory that featured a LHS go-ahead run in the top of the seventh and a somewhat controversial double play in the bottom of the seventh that prevented the tying run from scoring.
Longmont senior pitcher Noah Befus was in the middle of it all, and the 'crazy ending' just signified the way the Trojans have come out on top in several tight contests already this season to move to 7-1.
Thursday's win was the fifth for Longmont to come by three runs or less.
"They're just finding ways to win," Longmont head coach Tom Fobes said.
The Raptors surely could have a beef with the way this one ended, as junior Spencer Rich was deemed by the infield umpire to have slid through second base on a fielder's choice in the seventh inning — a rules violation that automatically results in the hitter also being called out on the play.
It's a rule one doesn't see violated a lot, and to end a game is even more rare, to be true. For the Trojans to even get one out on the play, it took a tremendous play by second baseman Brady Renck to re-adjust his body after Befus deflected Declan Magill's hit up the middle.
"You get the deflection to slow the ball down ... and otherwise that might be a base hit and we get the chance to send the winning run home," Silver Creek coach Mike Apodaca said, his team dropping to 5-5 on the year.
Silver Creek had scored first in the game, with Rich's first inning double plating Justin Swenson. Longmont took a 2-1 lead in the fourth with the help of three walks and a hit batter, but Michael Wegleitner's triple in the fifth would help knot the game back up 2-2.
Longmont left a runner at third base in the sixth inning, but struck in the seventh with a Renck single and then a perfectly executed hit-and-run off the bat of Befus — who had three hits in addition to pitching the complete game.
Austin Hassler's groundout up the middle got Renck home, and that was enough for Longmont's fourth league win.
"We definitely have been in a lot of close games, and I think if we all come together as a team and get hyped we're able to come through," Befus said after allowing eight hits and striking out seven Silver Creek batters. "These are our rivals, and that kind of played into it. We know what we're supposed to do and we've been able to get it done. Simple as that."
"We haven't allowed big innings, and we've just done a good job of moving forward after any mistakes," Fobes said. "We got the (run) we needed and Brady made a great play just to give us a chance (at a true double play). It was going to be close, but we got the interference call."
The teams will meet again on Saturday at Longmont, and the Raptors have a chance to show their offense can find holes. In a recent trip to Arizona, Silver Creek posted 31 runs in their final two games.
"I thought we squared some up that, defensively, they made some good plays on," Apodaca said. "That's a good game that we came up short on with just a couple plays here and there. (Longmont) is the league leader right now, and we have to play like we're the leader on Saturday."
Longmont 3, Silver Creek 2
At Silver Creek HS
Longmont 000 200 1 — 3 7 1
Silver Creek 100 010 0 — 2 8 0
W — Noah Befus. L — Davin Villapando.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Matt Zamudio 3-0-0-0, Brady Renck 3-1-1-1, Noah Befus 4-0-3-0, Anthony Rodriguez 0-0-0-0, Austin Hassler 4-0-0-1, Devon Nowells 0-0-0-0, Avery Peterson 4-1-2-0, Alec Thompson 3-0-0-0, Chris Gumeson 1-1-1-0, Hayden Carson 2-0-0-0, Grant Rulon 3-0-0-1. SB —Rodriguez 2, Gumeson 2, Nowells.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Michael Wegleitner 3-1-1-0, Justin Swenson 3-1-0-0, Spencer Rich 3-0-3-2, Declan Magill 4-0-1-0, Rex Olinger 3-0-0-0, Christopher Smedley 2-0-1-0, Alex Rich 0-0-0-0, Tanner Reagan 2-0-0-0, Jack Carlough 1-0-0-0, Davin Villapando 2-0-1-0, Ryan Suess 0-0-0-0, Charlie Jackson 3-0-1-0. 2B — Rich. 3B —Wegleitner.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Noah Befus 7-8-2-1-3-7.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jack Carlough 3.2-5-2-2-3-0, Davin Villapando 3.1-2-1-1-1-1.