BROOMFIELD — Though the team was comprised of players from two clubs that were coming off conference-winning efforts in the spring, the players the Longmont-Erie Trogers showcased on the diamond this summer largely were relegated to junior varsity roles until the school year ended.
After roughly six weeks of being thrown into the fray, Longmont coach Tom Fobes and his counterpart at Erie, Harold Simmons, hope the youngsters' growth this summer translates well to the varsity level next spring.
Despite a valiant effort to stay alive in the double-elimination American Amateur Baseball Congress state tournament, the Trogers watched their season come to an end in stunning fashion Saturday afternoon as rival Mountain View rallied for three runs in the top of the seventh to earn a 5-4 decision at Legacy High School.
"That's the good part of it — the younger guys played well throughout the summer," Fobes said. "They got to the championship of the (Northern Colorado Baseball League) tournament last weekend and lost in the championship to a team that was all varsity kids. That was good to see. Then, to have them come here, they stepped up and played really well."
The Trogers opened the tournament on Wednesday by defeating Diamond Club on a walk-off single from Josh Crites before losing Thursday against Cherry Creek. Yet Longmont-Erie managed to stay alive on Friday by posting wins against Arapahoe and Dakota Ridge, setting up a wild affair Saturday against Longmont's high school rivals from the Northern League.
The Trogers twice held two-run leads, taking a 2-0 lead on a two-run single by Noah Befus in the third and forging ahead 4-2 in the fifth on RBI singles from Jake Zamudio and Befus.
After throwing two solid innings in relief of starter Hunter Merlo, the Trogers' Gavin Sackett was undone by control issues that led to three Mountain View runs on two walks, a hit batter, two hits and a poor defensive decision on a fielder's choice.
Mountain View relief pitcher Ivan Thomas retired the final nine Trogers batters he faced to complete the Mountain Lions' comeback.
"The game plan was to just work low and not get anything up to them," said Merlo, who allowed only one earned run in four innings. "I just tried to get us in a good spot to win."
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Mountain View 5, Longmont-Erie 4
At Legacy HS
Mountain View 000 110 3 — 5 7 1
Longmont-Erie 002 020 0 — 4 10 2
W — Ivan Thomas. L — Gavin Sackett.
Mountain View hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Holden Bernhardt 5-0-2-1, Jace Suarez 5-0-1-0, Dylan Norsen 4-1-1-0, TJ Felton 1-1-0-0, Easton Madrid 2-1-1-1, TJ Mendoza 0-1-0-0, Ivan Thomas 4-1-1-1, Braden Barker 4-0-1-2, Mike Felton 3-0-0-0, Reid Nichols 3-0-0-0. Totals 31-5-7-5. SB — Norsen 2.
Longmont-Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Josh Crites 3-0-0-0, Luke Conilogue 4-1-1-0, Nick Gavit 4-2-2-0, Miguel Moroyoqui 4-1-2-0, Jake Zamudio 3-0-1-1, Noah Befus 4-0-3-3, Hunter Nelson 3-0-0-0, Matt Zamudio 3-0-1-0, Ethan Fiallo 1-0-0-0, Alec Thompson 3-0-0-0. Totals 32-4-10-4.
Mountain View pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Braden Barker 4+-9-4-4-2-7; Ivan Thomas 3-1-0-0-3.
Longmont-Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hunter Merlo 4-3-2-1-1-1; Gavin Sackett 2.1-4-3-3-3-2; Noah Befus 0.2-0-0-0-1-0.