Baseball: Longmont hangs on to beat Wheat Ridge in 4A heavyweight matchup

No. 6 Trojans outscore No. 9 Wheat Ridge behind young arms in season finale

Longmont’s Ben Kleiman delivers a pitch to a Wheat Ridge batter during their Class 4A nonleague game played at Everitt Middle School on Monday. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)
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WHEAT RIDGE – With both teams resting their top arms to line up their respective rotations in preparation for regional tournaments this weekend, it was no surprise to see plenty of runs scored when Longmont and Wheat Ridge squared off on Monday afternoon.

It may not have been a showdown between big-time arms, but it was still a big-time matchup between two top-12 teams in the 4A RPI standings.

Longmont (16-7) entered the game ninth in the 4A RPI standings while the Wheat Ridge (16-6) players woke up Monday in the No. 12 spot. Winning their regular-season finale, the sixth-ranked Longmont Trojans scored five runs in the final two innings to a claim an 11-9 victory over the ninth-ranked Farmers.

“The score was what it was but both teams hit the ball pretty good,” Longmont head coach Tom Fobes said. “I thought we played pretty decently. We had a couple mistakes that we’ll try to get ironed out. But it was a good game leading up to regionals. We got all our pitchers in there, got some innings and everybody should be ready to go.

“We’re going to be facing teams like this, hopefully for a little while longer. So it was good to get them out there.”

Longmont’s Devon Nowells prepares to throw to first base after fielding a groundball at third during Monday’s game against Wheat Ridge. (Brad Cochi/BoCoPreps.com)

Longmont and Wheat Ridge combined to score seven runs in the first inning alone and sent a combined three sophomores to the bump in game. The most regularly-used pitcher to take the mound was Longmont sophomore Owen Kroeger, who entered the game in relief having pitched a respectable 30 2/3 innings to that point in the season.

After three lead changes, the game was tied 6-6 after the fifth frame. The Trojans, however, scored three runs on three hits in the sixth inning. They added two more in the seventh that proved critical in holding off the Farmers as they mounted a three-run charge in the bottom of the frame.

Longmont senior Brady Renck, who is sixth in 4A with a .568 batting average, went 2-for-4 on Monday. Longmont’s Grant Rulon and Ryan James also had two hits in the game, while Chris Gumeson and Lathan Bunkers each drove in a pair of runs.

Regional tournaments are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Longmont 11, Wheat Ridge 9
At Everitt M.S.

Longmont (16-7) 402 003 2 – 11 12 3
Wheat Ridge (16-6) 320 010 3 – 9 10 1

W – Kroeger. L – A. Tate.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Renck 4-2-2-0, Rulon 4-2-2-1, Nowells 3-1-1-0, Gumeson 3-0-1-2, Benes 3-1-1-1, Deeter 3-1-1-1, James 3-1-2-1, Northouse 3-1-1-1, Lewis 0-1-0-0, Bunkers 4-0-1-2, Martinez 0-1-0-0, Kleiman 0-0-0-0, Kroeger 0-0-0-0, Ouweneel 0-0-0-0. Totals 30-11-12-9. 2B – Benes, Bunkers. SB – Rulon.
Wheat Ridge hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) – Sitzman 5-2-3-1, Miller 4-0-1-1, Bronk 4-2-2-2, A. Tate 4-0-0-0, Radi 3-1-1-1, Arcilise 3-0-0-0, Kingman 3-1-1-0, R. Tate 3-1-1-0, Dewitz 2-1-1-0, Sawyer 0-1-0-0, Stahl 0-0-0-0, Bloomer 0-0-0-0. Totals 31-9-10-5. 2B – Bronk 2, Sitzman. 3B – Radi.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Ouweneel 1-4-3-2-1-0, Kleiman 2-2-2-1-2-0, Kroeger 3-2-1-1-2-0, Renck 1-2-3-2-1-1.
Wheat Ridge pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) – Kingman 0-5-4-4-0-0, A. Tate 6-4-5-4-5-5, Dewitz 1-3-2-2-0-0, Sawyer 0-0-0-0-0-0.