LONGMONT — Base running is perhaps the most overlooked aspect of baseball, but as the Longmont High School team proved Saturday, it can make a huge difference.
The Trojans looked brilliant on the base paths, with nine steals and several smart decisions during a 10-7 victory over Broomfield on Saturday at Longmont High School.
Catcher Brad Johnson went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and four steals to lead the way for Longmont, and Justin Mathews pitched a complete game.
Longmont began running early. In the first inning, Jason Fobes reached first base on an error, stole second base, and advanced to third on a wild pitch before Johnson
brought him home with an RBI single. Johnson also stole second base before the inning came to a
“The first pitcher, we had figured out and he was also slow to the plate,” Longmont coach Tom Fobes said, referring to Broomfield starter Andy Herrman, on the mound for eight of Longmont’s nine steals.
Anthony Pineda didn’t get a hit, but the Trojans’ third baseman walked three times, stole three bases and scored twice. Jason Fobes finished with two steals.
Longmont’s base running helped build a 3-1 lead after four innings, but it really made a difference during a six-run rally in the fifth inning that put the Trojans ahead, 9-1.
Jason Fobes walked with one out and stole second. Johnson followed with an RBI single, and stole second base. He then stole third and scored on a throwing error.
Later in the inning, a wild pitch by Herrman put Longmont’s Bobby Stover and Pineda on third and second, respectively. Another wild pitch brought Stover to the plate, and Pineda also scored on the play when the Eagles bobbled the ball.
“We were just very aggressive today,” Johnson said. “The coaches really put it on us to be aggressive today and we did it.”
Not only did the Trojans go 9-for-10 in steal attempts, they made coach Fobes happy with how they kept their focus on the bases and took extra bases when they were available.
“Our base running won us the game,” coach Fobes said. “We took advantage of their mistakes.”
On the mound, Mathews did a great job of not letting Longmont’s mistakes become too costly. The Trojans committed six errors in the field, but Mathews kept the Eagles to a single run through five innings.
The senior pitcher worked out of a bases-loaded jam with no outs in the first inning, and limited the Eagles to only three hits through five innings.
With Longmont holding a 9-1 lead heading into the sixth inning, however, Mathews lost a bit of his control. He hit three batters and left the ball up in the strike zone for five Broomfield hits and six runs in the final two innings.
Luckily, the offense had given him enough room for error.
“You get up a big lead, pitchers tend to sit back and lose their focus,” said Johnson, who caught Mathews all game. “He left a couple (up in the zone), but I think he did a nice job keeping his composure and finishing the game.”
The same could be said for the rest of the Trojans, who ran away with a crucial Northern Conference victory.
“This is like two wins in one game, because they were right there with us (in the standings),” coach Fobes said.