BROOMFIELD — On a day the 21st perfect game in Major League Baseball history was recorded, Legacy enjoyed its own share of lock-down pitching.
Jake Long walked off the field with his second shutout of the season Saturday, helping the Lightning to a 10-0, five-inning mercy-rule win over Horizon. And while the senior right-hander failed to record a perfect game, he was in the same neighborhood.
Long finished the Front Range League outing allowing only one hit and five base runners in his most dominating performance of the season.
“I definitely think I’ve hit my stride the past couple of outings,” the pitcher said. “I feel good, but it’s definitely easy to pitch when you have the defense and offense like we’ve had.”
Long has been in the zone as of late, with his shutouts coming in consecutive outings.
Long blanked Boulder on April 12 in his last start, also holding the Panthers to one hit and three walks. But the righty found a different gear Saturday, finishing off the Hawks (4-9, 1-5) with a season-high eight strikeouts.
He set the tone early in the game, retiring Horizon in the top of the first and punching out three of the first five batters he faced.
“All I really tried to do today was throw strikes,” Long said. “If they hit it I had my defense. But I was just trying to keep them off balance.”
Legacy’s defensive work was a relief to Ty Giordano.
In a week’s time the Legacy coach has watched his team suffer its first two conference losses, with the Lightning (10-3, 4-2) giving up a total of 20 runs and 23 hits against Fort Collins and Poudre. The falters ended up being more than the wakeup call Legacy required.
“It helped us refocus,” Giordano said. “We had a pretty good spring-break trip and were feeling pretty good about ourselves. But those losses showed that anybody can beat you on any given day.”
The defense airtight, Legacy was free to do what it does best — crush the ball while at the plate. The team did so with relish, finishing the afternoon with 14 hits, seven for extra bases, two of those home runs.
Jake Bublitz finished the Lightning’s power-hitting clinic with his second homer of the season. The left fielder sent his two-run shot cruising over the left-center field wall in Legacy’s breakout fourth inning, where the team scored five runs. But it was one of the team’s most explosive sluggers that stole the show.
Ty Overboe overpowered Horizon’s two lefty pitchers at every turn, finishing the afternoon with a pair of doubles and the first of his team’s two home runs. His homer — Overboe’s third of the year — came in his second at bat in the third and went careening off Legacy’s green-monster wall in dead center field. The shot did not surprise the Regis University-bound catcher, since it came when he believes his team’s lineup is its most dangerous.
“Once we go through the lineup one time we have pretty good communication,” Overboe said. “We tell each other what we see and go out there and drive it.”
Overboe’s doubles were impressive in their own right, helping the senior bat in four runs on the afternoon. Each came when the catcher had two strikes called on him.
“I don’t know if there is a better two-strike hitter in the state,” Giordano said. “He just seems to square things up and it’s a credit to him, because he’s worked very, very hard at that.”
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Legacy 10, Horizon 0
At Legacy H.S.
Horizon (4-9, 1-5) 000 00x x — 0 1 1
Legacy (10-3, 4-2) 202 51x x — 10 14 1
W — Long (4-0). L — Kildow (0-1)
Horizon hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kildow 3-0-0-0, Castiglione 2-0-0-0, Caro 1-0-0-0, Albrandt 1-0-0-0, Lauritzen 1-0-0-0, Wise 2-0-0-0, Moore 2-0-1-0, Sullivan 1-0-0-0, Gonzales 2-0-0-0. Totals 15-0-1-0. 2B — None. 3B — None. HR — None. SB — None.
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Clapper 2-1-1-2, Bollig 3-3-2-0, Overboe 3-3-3-4, Bublitz 3-1-1-2, Wells 3-0-3-1, Lee 3-0-0-0, Long 2-0-0-0, Pfister 1-1-1-0, Farrel 2-1-1-0, Osbment 1-0-1-0, Wessel 3-0-1-0. Totals 25-10-14-9. 2B — Bollig, Overboe 2, Wells. 3B — Clapper. HR — Overboe (two run in third); Bublitz (two run in fourth). SB — None.
Horizon pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kildow 3 2/3-10-8-7-0-0; Arellano 1 1/3-4-2-2-0-1.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Long 5-1-0-0-3-8.