Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer
Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
LONGMONT — When he signed to play baseball at Westmont College, Brady Renck not only secured the next phase of his future in the sport but he also freed himself up to fully enjoy the final season his prep career.
Having already signed does not mean Renck intends to cruise through his final high school spring. Renck’s intentions are quite the opposite, actually.
With the weight from one of the biggest decisions of his young life lifted, Renck has big plans for his senior season with the Longmont Trojans.
“Having already signed takes a lot of pressure off my shoulders,” Renck said. “Last year, I started really slow and I was pressing a little bit. I can really play free and loose-minded and just play with my love for the game. It’s going to be the last time I get to play with this group of guys so it’s important for me to finish high school on a high note.”
Last spring, the Trojans won 19 of the 23 games they played. They claimed the Northern League title, a regional championship and reached the Class 4A state tournament before going 0-2 at All-Star Park and finally losing by one run to Holy Family.
Throughout the Trojans’ run in 2018, Renck, a slick-fielding and fleet-footing middle infielder, posted a .347/.467/.440 slash line and a .988 fielding percentage. He scored 31 runs, drove in 14 more and stole a dozen bases for the Trojans. In 16 postseason at-bats, he totaled seven hits and scored seven runs.
Twenty-year head coach Tom Fobes and the Longmont baseball team are expecting similarly catalyzing production from Renck this spring, and will look to him for leadership and the Trojans endeavor to make a return appearance at the state tournament.
Before any of that can happen, however, Renck has unfinished business on the hardwood.
On Friday, the defending state champion Longmont boys basketball team will face Pueblo East in the Final 4 at the Denver Coliseum. Between his extensive obligations as the Trojans’ starting point guard and some unfavorable weather conditions early this spring, Renck is a bit behind in his baseball preparation in terms of seeing live pitching or fielding practice.
But as much as he loves baseball and can’t wait to get his cleats dirty on the diamond where he truly excels, Renck will gladly trade a scrimmage or two for one last shot at a basketball state title.
“It’s awesome,” Renck said, pointing out that while he hasn’t had much time to get in preseason baseball reps, he expects the basketball team’s success to parlay into the upcoming baseball campaign. “It gives us a lot of confidence because the baseball guys come to our basketball games and it motivates them to see the kind of atmosphere we play in. When I come into baseball season, I just try to be a leader and show guys what it takes to get to that level and compete.”
The Trojans will need every bit of Renck’s multi-sport experience, as well as his bat, glove and speed, after graduating seven seniors following last spring’s state tournament run. But they do also have plenty of talent returning in sophomore staff ace Devon Nowells, who pitched his way to a 3.05 ERA over 43.2 innings as a freshman, Renck’s double-play counterpart and senior shortstop Kascen Deeter, and other returning varsity lettermen like seniors Grant Rulon and Chris Gumeson.
“We’ll be young in terms of experience but we still have eight seniors,” Renck said. “A lot of our guys haven’t played in a while so it’ll be their first full varsity season. But we are still expecting to go out there and do our best to compete for a league championship and to get back to state.”
This weekend will be a big one for Renck and the Longmont basketball squad. Whether or not the Trojans can recapture the 4A title, there’s plenty more to look forward to right around the corner.
For Renck, baseball season starts Monday.