NORTHGLENN — When Easton Cacala drilled a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning Friday, it appeared Longmont had finally put Northglenn away.
Trojans coach Tom Fobes couldn’t have fathomed at the time that he’d have to deploy Cacala for a pressure-packed save in the bottom of the inning.
The sophomore came through — but not without a scare — in the Trojans’ action-packed 15-13 non-league win against the 5A Norse. Longmont, ranked sixth in the latest 4A AP media poll, improved to 7-3 with the skin-of-their-teeth victory.
“This was one of those really frustrating games where neither team really played defense,” Fobes said. “No matter who got ahead or behind, it was never out of reach for either team.”
Longmont had seemingly comfortable leads of 3-0, 8-2 and then 15-8 after Cacala’s homer. But the host Norse (4-8) rallied back into contention every time. It finally ended when Cacala got Sam Moldenhauer to ground out to shortstop with the bases loaded.
Cacala had hit the preceding batter, Manuel Rivera, with a two-strike pitch to force in a run and move the tying run to scoring position. But ultimately, he escaped the jam and the Trojans didn’t waste a glorious day of hitting.
“I got nervous at the beginning, then started throwing a couple strikes and I got in my groove,” Cacala said.
For the Trojans, it conjured flashbacks to Monday in San Diego, when they surrendered nine runs in the fifth in a 14-10 loss to Otay Ranch. The lineup did just enough to offset Northglenn’s rallies this time.
The Nos. 2 through 7 hitters did virtually all of the damage. The sextet of hitters went 15 for 25, with Cacala, Mason Peterson and Matt Zamudio ripping three hits apiece. Peterson clobbered two doubles and a triple, producing two RBIs and three runs scored in the process.
“I was just coming out of a slump, but today felt pretty good,” Peterson said. “I’m glad to get out of it finally.”
Miguel Moroyoqui and Kavan Andrew each went 2 for 4 and combined for five runs and five RBIs. The Trojans’ offensive onslaught was aided by eight Northglenn errors, three of which came on RBI base hits to the outfield that allowed additional runs to score.
“We swung it pretty well and we needed to,” Fobes said. “We needed to score 15.”
The top of the Northglenn lineup caused the most trouble for Longmont, with Hector Maynez and Nate Low each collecting three hits and three RBIs. Cacala began his pitching outing by striking out Low, but then allowed a single and hit Rivera. Then all of Trojan Nation let out a sigh of relief after Moldenhauer grounded out.
“I feel like it will help me throughout the season,” Cacala said. “If I need to come in to pitch more, I’ve already been through that.”
For the 6-foot-2 Cacala (3 for 3, three RBIs, three runs scored and a stolen base), the homer was his second in varsity play.
Sophomore left-hander Dagin Renck earned the win despite a fairly uneven outing. He surrendered seven runs (five earned) in five innings, and mostly was undone by a 37-pitch fourth. But he persevered through a day that belonged to hitters and improved to 5-1.
After another non-league game Saturday at Elizabeth, Longmont gets back to Northern League play Thursday at Northridge. If anything, the Trojans are learning not to take any lead for granted.
“Every time we’d go up on them they’d just fight back,” Peterson said. “I give them a lot of credit. They never gave up.”
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Longmont 15, Northglenn 13
At Northglenn HS
Longmont 300 504 3 — 15 15 3
Northglenn 002 411 5 — 13 12 8
W — Dagin Renck (5-1). L — Jacob Brown (1-3). Sv — Easton Cacala (1).
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cooper Rothe 4-1-0-1, Kavan Andrew 4-3-2-2, Mason Peterson 5-3-3-2, Miguel Moroyoqui 4-2-2-3, Easton Cacala 3-3-3-3, Dagin Renck 4-0-2-1, Avery Peterson 0-0-0-0, Matt Zamudio 5-1-3-0, Austin Hassler 4-0-0-0, Reece Cardenas 0-1-0-0, Ryan Rulon 2-1-0-0, Barrett Ingvaldsen 2-0-0-0. Totals 37-15-15-12. 2B — Peterson 2, Moroyoqui, Zamudio. 3B — Peterson. HR — Cacala (one on in 7th). SB — Andrew, Moroyoqui, Cacala.
Northglenn hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Hector Maynez 5-2-2-3, Nate Low 5-0-3-3, Dalton Hines 5-0-1-0, Manuel Rivera 3-2-0-1, Sam Moldenhauer 3-2-0-0, Ben Thompson 2-1-0-0, Michael Davis 1-1-1-0, Jacob Brown 3-2-2-3, Gabriel Garcia 3-1-1-1, Aldo Quezada 3-2-2-0. Totals 32-13-12-11. 2B — Maynez, Low, Brown.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Renck 5-6-7-5-3-4, Andrew 1.1-5-6-5-2-1, Cacala 0.2-1-0-0-1-1.
Northglenn pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Brown 5.1-10-10-6-2-6, Quezada 0-2-2-2-1-0, Davis 1-2-3-3-1-0, Garcia 0.2-1-0-0-0-1.