LONGMONT — Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Dagin Renck.
During a 9-3 win over Pueblo Central at Longmont High School on Tuesday afternoon, the sophomore checked off a slew of career firsts in his third game as a starter for the Trojans varsity team.
All in just three innings, Renck notched the first varsity hit of his prep career, his first home run, and picked up his first win on the mound.
“First hit of the year,” Renck said. “I’ve been working on the basics and working in the cage so I was glad to get that. I thought I flew out to left field, honestly. I guess I got it up in the air. It was great.”
Renck got it way up the air.
In the second inning, Renck belted a high-arching solo home run to left field that gave the Trojans (2-1, 1-1 Northern) a 3-0 lead after teammate junior Miguel Moroyoqui hit a solo shot of his own in the first. Sophomore Easton Cacala hit a two-run shot in the third inning that scored Barrett Ingvaldsen and signaled the rout was on.
Pueblo Central (0-3) scored a run in the fourth inning and two more in the sixth but never came within five runs of the Trojans, who had not hit a home run before Tuesday.
Entering Tuesday’s game with a 9.33 earned-run average after a rough first outing against Greeley Central on Thursday, Renck was just as pleased with his performance on the mound. Falling behind just one of the seven batters he faced in his two-inning start, Renck struck out five of them while throwing 22 of his 28 pitches for strikes and allowing only a leadoff double in the first inning and no runs.
“I had a little rough outing the first time and got hit around pretty good,” said Renck, who swung up to varsity as a freshman reliever during the playoffs last season. “So the first couple innings today, I really wanted to focus on my fastball away and throw strikes. The curveball was good.”
Tuesday’s non-conference game felt a bit like a spring training game, with new pitchers entering the game nearly every inning and players moving all around the field. Six Longmont pitchers — Renck, Nick Madrid, Kavan Andrew, Easton Cacala, Reece Cardenas and Hunter Merlo — combined to hold Pueblo Central to six hits.
“We had good energy from the dugout and we were picking up the ball well,” Cacala said. “We only have a couple starters right now so we were trying to get some different guys some innings.”
Center fielder Cooper Rothe went 2 for 4 at the plate, stole two bases and scored twice. Cacala and junior Mason Peterson also went 2 for 4 and each drove in a pair of runs.
With his program rebuilding after getting eliminated by Green Mountain in the semifinals of the 4A state tournament last season, Longmont head coach Tom Fobes said Tuesday’s game served many purposes with a lengthy stretch of conference games beginning this week.
“It went according to plan and usually when we try to do that, it doesn’t,” Fobes said. “We were trying to get set up for our league games so we wanted to get all our relievers and inning or two and we were able to do that without having to really change anything because of the score. It was good. We’re young but we’re playing better. The last couple games we were playing a little scared but we’re doing a lot better. We just need to continue to progress.”
Continuing the home-and-away Northern League schedule, Moroyoqui will start Thursday’s conference game at Centaurus (2-3, 2-0 Northern) and Ingvaldsen will start the second game at home on Saturday.
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Longmont 9, Pueblo Central 3
At Longmont H.S.
Pueblo Central 000 102 0 — 3 6 4
Longmont 213 201 x — 9 12 1
W — Dagin Renck (1-1). L — Noah Calderon.
Pueblo Central hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Jacob Cordova 3-0-2-0, Marcos Casados 4-0-1-0, Tyler Arellano 3-2-1-0, Noah Calderon 4-0-0-0, Zacier Gallegos 2-1-1-0, Paul Gornick 3-0-1-1, Colton Johnson 3-0-0-1, Kobi Betts 2-0-0-0, Julian Salazar 1-0-0-0, Alec Gonzales 1-0-0-0. Totals 26-3-6-2. 2B — Cordova. SB — Salazar, Betts.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cooper Rothe 4-2-2-1, Kavan Andrew 4-1-1-1, Mason Peterson 4-1-2-2, Miguel Moroyoqui 3-1-1-1, Barrett Ingvaldsen 3-1-1-1, Easton Cacala 2-1-1-2, Dagin Renck 2-1-1-1, Ryan Rulon 1-0-0-0, Austin Hassler 3-1-2-0, Noah Befus 2-0-0-0, Reece Cardenas 1-0-1-0. Totals 29-9-12-9. 2B — Hassler, Ingvaldsen, Peterson, Andrew. 3B — Peterson. HR — Moroyoqui (solo in first), Renck (solo in second), Cacala (one on in third). SB —R othe 2.
Pueblo Central pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Noah Calderon 3-7-6-6-0-1, Paul Gornick 3-5-3-1-0-1.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Dagin Renck 2-1-0-0-0-5, Nick Madrid 1-0-0-0-1-1, Kavan Andrew 1-1-1-1-1-2, Easton Cacala 1-0-0-0-1-2, Reece Cardenas 1.2-4-2-2-1-3, Hunter Merlo 0.1-0-0-0-0-0.