LONGMONT — The way Thursday afternoon started for Noah Befus and the Longmont Trojans, it had all the makings of a disaster.
The senior pitcher, who was on a pitch count anyway to be ready for next week, started against Centaurus and faced four batters, threw 21 pitches (12 balls), walked three and gave up a roped double to Braden Rizzi before his day on the mound was over.
When the dust settled on the top of the first inning, upset-minded Centaurus had plated four runs one just one hit.
But it seemed to light a fire under the Trojans (11-1 overall, 10-1 in league), who responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the frame and then went on to end the Northern League game in five innings 15-5.
"You tell (Befus), that was your bad outing for the year and the good thing is that he got his 20 pitches in," said Longmont coach Tom Fobes rather tongue-in-cheek. "It didn't linger for him and we were able to come back and he swung it really well today."
That was a mild understatement. Befus led the Longmont hit parade — 15 in all — with three doubles. That was just three of Longmont's seven extra-base hits.
"When everyone is hitting the ball good it just gives life to our dugout," senior Austin Hassler said. "It gets the younger guys going, gets our older guys going and gets everyone involved."
Centaurus (4-12, 2-9) was patient in the early going at the plate, cashing in walks from Jack Batistelli, Myles Meskers and Henry Zeigert before the Rizzi base-clearing hit.
The Warriors chased Befus and giving up the lead in the bottom half of the first, took the lead right back against Gavin Pohl in the top of the second when Batistelli came around on Meskers double and subsequent Longmont error on the relay.
"We came out and played disciplined baseball through four innings. We played well and we competed on the bump," Centaurus coach Doug Kinney said. "We took some positives out of it and we are proud of our efforts today one-through-nine, we worked hard at it."
Third-ranked Longmont had its way at the plate and didn't miss much against Warriors sophomore starter Nick VanTassel, who was called for three balks, in the first two innings. The Trojans chase him after eight runs in two innings and then went down in order in the third and fourth against Rizzi, who came on in relief.
But in the fifth, with two outs, Longmont would score seven runs -- highlighted by Matt Zamudio's two-run triple -- and end the game by mercy rule.
Befus and Hassler would each finish with three hits. Zamudio and Hassler each had three RBIs and eight of the nine in the Trojans started lineup had at least one hit.
"They've done a great job of handling different situations. They've played some really tight games," said Fobes, whose team is set to face the Warriors again on Saturday afternoon (weather pending). "We've fallen behind several time and come back and they've handled those times really well and that is why our record is what it is."
Pohl would pitch five strong innings, giving up just four hits and facing the minimum over the final three innings to pick up his first varsity victory.
LONGMONT 15, CENTAURUS 5
Centaurus (4-12, 2-9)410 00 — 5 5 1
Longmont (11-1, 10-1)440 07 — 15 15 2
W — Pohl. L — VanTassel.
Centaurus hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Batistelli 2-2-1-0, Meskers 2-1-2-0, Zeigert 1-1-0-0, Rizzi 3-1-2-3, Weirl 0-0-0-0, Erickson 3-0-0-0, Sheppard 2-0-0-0, Blair 2-0-0-0, VanTassel 2-0-0-0, Renjillian 2-0-0-0, Smith 2-0-0-0. Totals 19-5-5-3. 2B — Rizzi, Meskers. 3B — Meskers.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Zamudio 4-2-1-3, Renck 3-1-0-0, Befus 4-2-3-1, Hassler 4-2-3-3, Gumeson 0-0-0-0, Hanson 0-0-0-0, Peterson 3-0-2-2, Rodriguez 0-1-0-0, Thompson 3-2-2-2, Carson 3-1-1-0, Deeter 2-2-1-0, Rulon 3-2-2-1. Totals 29-15-15-12. 2B — Befus 3, Peterson. 3B — Thompson, Hassler, Zamudio.
Centaurus pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — VanTassel 2-8-8-5-0-0, Rizzi 2.2-7-7-5-1-3.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Befus 0-1-4-4-3-0, Pohl 5-4-1-0-1-6.