GREELEY — Saturday afternoon’s rainstorm seemed fitting for the Longmont baseball team.
After leading Northridge (12-7, 8-6 Northern) on the road through the first five innings, even holding a 5-0 lead in the fourth, the Trojans faded in the final two while giving up four runs in the sixth and the game-winning score to Jake Hammer in the seventh after a grounder by Giovanni Morfin led to a wild throw, resulting in a 6-5 comeback win by the Grizzlies.
After a regular season finale of that nature, a dreary outcome that matched the incoming weather, Longmont (12-6, 9-5) would rather let their frustrations get washed away before the start of next week’s playoffs. In other words, on to the next one as the Trojans won’t stew over the outcome but also hope to learn their lesson in putting together complete performances.
“We want to move on,” Longmont coach Tom Fobes said. “This is what has cost us this year is not playing a full seven innings. I feel like we won a majority of the innings, but they won two innings and won the game.
“You have to play a full seven innings and for whatever reason, in our losses this year, we’ve just had one or two innings where we just can’t quite execute and put it together.”
Despite a challenging loss, one that prevented Longmont from finishing in sole possession of second place in the Northern, the Trojans did receive a commanding start out of junior Dagin Renck. The lefty hurler had four shutout innings, painting the corners, keeping hitters off-balance with breaking balls and allowing only three hits while striking out six Grizzlies.
Unfortunately for the Trojans, Renck felt a touch of soreness in his elbow while warming up for the fifth frame, causing the team’s ace to call it a day for precautionary reasons in anticipation of the postseason. Reece Cardenas came in for relief, but the senior, sporting an ERA under 1.00 on the season, didn’t have his typical stuff while giving up four runs.
“Obviously when Renck came out it changed,” Northridge coach Mike Huston said. “Longmont hammered the ball against us Thursday, so we just tried to stay in it today and we made some moves.”
Baseball can be a fickle game and against a pesky outfit on the road looking to split the season series after an 11-7 home win for Longmont on Thursday, it was simply Northridge’s day. Still, Fobes says the team is pretty confident after winning six of their last eight games in one of 4A’s top leagues.
“The Northern is traditionally tough year in and year out,” he said. “It does help us, because you play games like this where it’s competitive all the way through.”
“I don’t think there’s any doubt six will be in and it’s probably looking like seven of our eight will make it to districts,” Huston added, piggybacking off the notion that such competition could give Northern teams a bit of an advantage in the state tournament bracket.
Mason Peterson went 3 for 4 from the plate for the Trojans with a double and an RBI single. Cooper Rothe had a double of his own and chipped in two walks, a run, and a stolen base. Longmont finished in the top-three of the league standings for the fifth consecutive season and will find out their playoff seed and site on Sunday.
Northridge 6, Longmont 5
103 100 0 — 5 8 0
000 014 1 — 6 10 1
W — Jake Hammer. L — Ryan Rulon.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cooper Rothe 2-1-1-1, Andrew Voydat 4-0-1-0, Mason Peterson 4-1-3-1, Kavan Andrew 4-0-1-0, Miguel Moroyoqui 5-0-1-0, Austin Hassler 3-1-1-0, Noah Befus 4-0-1-1, Matt Zamudio 3-0-1-1, Ryan Rulon 2-0-1-0. Totals 31-5-11-4. 2B—Rothe, Voydat, Moroyoqui. SB—Rothe, Voydat.. 2B —Rothe, Voydat, Moroyoqui. SB —Rothe, Voydat.
Northridge hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kaylor Werner 4-1-2-1, Tayler Aguilar 3-0-1-2, Chance Eben 4-0-1-0, Jake Hammer 3-0-1-0, Giovanni Morfin 4-1-2-1, Trey Vasquez 3-1-1-0, Isidro Arellano 2-0-0-0, Donovan Alonzo 1-1-1-0, Jared Hinrichs 2-1-0-1, Korbin Reed 2-1-1-1. 3B —Aguilar.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Dagin Renck 4-3-0-0-1-6, Reece Cardenas 1.33-4-4-4-2-1, Ryan Rulon .66-2-1-0-0-0.
Northridge pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Justin Frye 5-11-5-5-2-2, Logan Chacon 1-0-0-0-1-, Jake Hammer 1-0-0-0-0-1.