LONGMONT — Being forced to cancel and reschedule a ballgame due to inclement weather is rarely a convenience, but in this particular case most fans would likely agree it was for the best.
Longmont and Mountain View were less than two at-bats into their April affair when snowfall forced the teams to postpone the contest. It was later decided that they would reconvene on the last Saturday of the season after each played previously scheduled games earlier in the day.
And when both teams earned victories in their first contests Saturday, the makeup effectively turned into a championship game between the top two teams in the Class 4A Northern League.
Though the home team went down early, the Trojans refused to fold, taking advantage of several MVHS miscues in the third inning to post eight runs in the frame and claim a commanding lead. Longmont reliever Ryan Rulon later took the mound and did an excellent job keeping the Lions’ bats quiet, turning in four solid innings of work and allowing his squad to claim a 14-6 victory and the conference crown.
“We do that every year,” Longmont head coach Tom Fobes said of aiming for a league title. “It’s been like 13 years since we’ve won conference, so it’s been a while. We’ve been close a couple of times and not won the last game. And today we were able to do it.”
The outlook appeared bleak early against Mountain View (12-7, 10-4), as Fobes was forced to pull starter Easton Cacala in the third inning. The visitors proceeded to add a couple runs against reliever Miguel Moroyoqui and took a 4-0 advantage to the bottom of the frame.
That’s when the Trojans struck. Junior Connor Rothe started off the inning with a double and eventually came home thanks to two different MVHS errors. Kavan Andrew then doubled, and was later driven in on a single by Cacala. Barrett Ingvaldsen then reached on an error and catcher Jake Zamudio, who had a game-high 4 RBIs, hit a ground-rule double to score two more shortly after. Rulon reached base on the Lions’ fourth error of the inning and Rothe made them pay, sending a shot over the left-center fence for a two-run homer to give his team an 8-4 edge.
“I just got more comfortable as the game went on,” Rothe said. “Just knowing everyone else was doing their thing, I just felt like I could do the same.”
After Moroyoqui was forced to exit early in the fourth due to an apparent leg injury, Fobes turned to the seldom-used Rulon for help on the hill. The junior proved up to the challenge, allowing just two runs and three hits over the game’s final four innings. And though the reliever wasn’t blowing away any of the Lions’ batters with his velocity, his placement was on-point, surrendering just two walks and letting his defense do much of the work for him.
“This game we had to go through three guys,” Fobes said. “And Ryan Rulon comes in, it’s only his second outing of the year, and carries us through. He did a great job.”
Of course it would have all been for naught had the Trojans not beat Thompson Valley in the day’s first game. It took a three-run seventh inning comeback to get the job done, as Noah Befus drove in fellow freshman Avery Peterson for a 7-6 walk-off victory.
The wins guarantee Longmont an automatic berth in the 4A district playoffs, which begin next Saturday. The pairings will be released Wednesday.
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Longmont 14, Mountain View 6
At Longmont HS
022 010 1 — 6 9 6
008 312 x — 14 13 0
W — Miguel Moroyoqui. L — Locke Bernhardt.
Mountain View hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — TJ Fenton 1-0-0-0, Locke Bernhardt 4-0-1-1, Adam Baumann 4-0-1-0, Ozzie Pearcy 2-1-0-0, Brandon VanDenBosch 1-1-0-0, Cody Howell 1-2-0-0, Ethan Howell 2-0-2-0, Dylan Norsen 3-1-2-1, Taven Whitehurst 3-0-2-3, Holden Bernhardt 3-0-0-0, Mike Felton 3-1-1-1. Totals 27-6-9-6. 2B — Howell. SB — Felton.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cooper Rothe 5-3-3-2, Kavan Andrew 3-3-1-0, Mason Peterson 4-0-1-1, Miguel Moroyoqui 2-2-1-0, Avery Peterson 0-1-0-0, Easton Cacala 4-0-1-1, Jake Zamudio 4-1-2-4, Barrett Ingvaldsen 4-2-2-0, Noah Befus 4-0-1-1, Ryan Rulon 4-1-0-0, Connor Hayes 2-1-1-1. Totals 32-14-13-10. 2B — Andrew, Zamudio, Moroyoqui, Rothe. HR — Rothe (two on in the 3rd).
Mountain View pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Locke Bernhardt 3.1-8-9-8-2-2, Baumann 3.2-5-6-2-2-0.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Cacala 2-3-2-3-4-2, Moroyoqui 1-3-2-1-0-0, Rulon 4-3-2-2-2-0.