LONGMONT — With just four returning starters from last year’s 8-12 squad, few likely would have predicted the Longmont Trojans’ hot start on the baseball diamond.
But it hasn’t taken long for the state’s prep baseball minds to take note.
Longmont was ranked second in Class 4A in the first Denver Post coaches poll of the spring on Thursday, and the Trojans promptly went out and backed up the status with an 11-1 mercy-rule win at home over rival Niwot.
The victory gave the Trojans (5-0, 3-0 Northern League) a 66-15 scoring edge over their first five foes.
“We just need to continue doing what we’re doing, take care of the little things and everything will work out,” Longmont junior third baseman Drew Magee said. “Our team chemistry so far has been excellent. We’ve got sophomores, juniors, seniors, doesn’t matter. We’re all out for one goal. That’s to win.”
Magee provided the most punch in the Trojans’ lineup Thursday, going 2 for 3 with a triple, a home run and five runs batted in. His bases-loaded triple to the gap in right-center field in the fourth inning broke open what had been a close game early. After he scored from third on a sacrifice by Josh Crist, the Trojans led 7-1 and never looked back.
Reilly Mau started on the mound and picked up his second win of the season, scattering four hits and allowing just one earned run in four innings.
Crist chipped in two hits and two RBIs, and Will Amen had two hits and scored twice from the ninth spot in the lineup to aid in the Trojans’ cause.
“We haven’t been 5-0 in a long time,” said Longmont coach Tom Fobes, whose squad is a regular in the postseason but hasn’t reached the eight-team state tournament since a final four run in 2005. “The guys are playing really good.”
Still, Fobes knows his team has plenty to prove before it can start celebrating too much. The Trojans head to California for three solid games next week, then return to a road game at Niwot and a two-game set against rival Silver Creek.
“We’re getting into the tougher part of our schedule,” Fobes said. “I’m not taking anything away from our guys, but it’s only going to get tougher.”
For Niwot (3-3, 3-2), the season has been a puzzling one so far. The Cougars started out 3-0 but have lost three straight.
On Thursday, the Cougars struggled to bring home runs early, stranding seven base runners in the first four innings when they had chances to take the lead. Errors then foiled any chance of keeping the game close late.
Third baseman Ryan Sypher doubled to score Danny Caruso for Niwot’s only run.
After solid hitting to start the season, scoring runners is a major point of emphasis for his young squad, Niwot coach Craig McBride said.
The Cougars returned eight starters from last year’s team but are still quite young, with several sophomores taking the field.
“I think they have a lot of character,” McBride said of his players. “I think they’ll bounce back.
“(A rough patch) is going to happen once in a while, but I think that was uncharacteristic of how they play.”
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Longmont 11, Niwot 1
At Longmont HS
Niwot (3-3, 3-2) 000 100 — 1 5 5
Longmont (4-0, 2-0) 101 531 — 11 11 2
W — Mau. L — Sarosi.
Niwot hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Meek 2-0-0-0, Kopplinger 3-0-1-0, Kinnison 3-0-1-0, Sarosi 2-0-0-0, Cintora 0-0-0-0-, Katechis 3-0-0-0, Kirkpatrick 2-0-1-0, Keeler 0-0-0-0, Caruso 3-1-0-0, Hawthorne 3-0-2-0, Sypher 3-0-1-1. Totals 24-1-6-1. 2B — Sypher.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Yee 3-1-1-1, Magee 3-2-2-5, Green 0-2-0-0, Crist 3-0-2-2, Mau 2-0-1-0, Bladt 3-1-0-0, Moroyoqui 3-0-2-0, Leroux 3-0-0-0, Pollack 0-1-0-0, Chacon 1-1-0-0, Bergamo 0-1-0-0, Amen 2-2-2-1, Sterkel 1-0-1-1, Zamudio 0-0-0-0. Totals 24-11-11-10. 3B — Magee. HR — Magee (Solo in 1st). SB — Crist, Bladt, Bergamo, Amen, Green.
Niwot pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Sarosi 4-8-7-7-3-2; Meek 1-2-3-0-1-1; Cintora 0+-1-1-0-0-0.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Mau 4-4-1-0-3-3; Sterkel 2-2-0-0-0-1.