GOLDEN — Luca Casali broke out of a mini-slump in a big way Thursday afternoon.

The Golden junior went 3-for-4 from the plate with a pair of 3-run home runs to go along with a double in the Demons’ dominating 14-0 victory in five innings over rival Green Mountain (5-2 record) on the baseball diamond.

“I have been struggling. It has been three or four games where I couldn’t even catch a barrel,” Casali said. “I was getting jammed on everything.”

Casali drove in six runs to shoot his RBI total up to 11 on the season. He highlighted the Demons’ 9-run bottom of the first inning with a double in the gap, followed up by his first of two 3-run home runs later in the inning.

“This is something we can do every game,” Casali said of Golden’s season-high 14 runs. “There is nothing that is holding us back from being able to put up five or six runs each inning.”

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

Golden (7-1) sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning. Junior Jaydon Stroup got things going with a 2-run single off Green Mountain starting pitcher Jackson Prosser. Junior Sawyer Brinkman — who got the start on the mound for the Demons — helped himself out with an 2-run double to push the lead to 4-0.

Sophomore Brody McBroom’s swinging bunt drove in another run and then Casali capped off the inning with the 3-run blast to make it a 9-0 lead for the Demons.

“We have been underachieving as a team offensively, honestly,” Golden coach Jackie McBroom said. “We have been playing good defense and pitching well, that will allow you to win a lot of games. We can hit a lot better than we have. It was good to see a lot of guys have good swings today to get out of that funk.”

Golden kept it going with a 5-run bottom of the third inning as the Demons batted around for the second time in the game. Casali’s second 3-run home run was a no-doubt shot over the right field fence to give the Demons a 12-0 lead.

Senior Braeden McCarroll kept the home run party going hitting an opposite field 2-run home run off Green Mountain junior Sam Desalvo, who came in relief for Prosser in the first inning, to make it an 14-0 advantage.

“Playing Green Mountain is a big game for us,” McBroom said of the Rams who were on a 5-game winning streak. “Emotions are high. Expectations are there for both teams.”

Golden had a very similar victory against Green Mountain last year that completed an undefeated conference record for the Demons. Golden took an 11-0 home victory against the Rams in their regular-season finale.

“I got to be honest, that was probably one of the most anticipated games of the season. Just knowing that Green Mountain was ranked (RPI) higher than we were,” Brinkman said. “We were coming off a tough game on Saturday (loss to Pueblo Central). We came out and proved what we can do.”

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

Brinkman nearly tossed a no-hitter in his five innings of work before the game ended due to the 10-run mercy rule. The junior had faced just one batter over the minimum going into the top of the fifth inning.

Green Mountain senior Gavin Horton broke up the no-hit bid with a lead-off single. Still, Brinkman finished off the game to get the complete-game win giving up just the one hit and striking out nine batters.

“It felt so comfortable, especially with the lead,” Brinkman said. “You can go right at hitters. Even if you make a mistake you still have room.”

Brinkman still hasn’t given up an earned run in 18 innings pitched so far this season.

“It was awesome,” Casali said of Brinkman’s performance on the mound. “When your No. 2 pitcher comes out and shoves (pitches) like that it shows you are a team that will be hard to beat.”

Most 4A Jeffco teams face everyone twice, but the first meeting between teams that play twice doesn’t count toward the conference standings. League play starts Saturday, April 20.

“It helps your RPI. You still need to keep winning,” McBroom said of the non-league win. “The reality is this isn’t the game that really matters. As good as this feels, the next one is the one really really need to focus on.”

The Demons and Rams actually opening league play in just over two weeks at Green Mountain High School on Saturday, April 20.

“Our goal is to host (playoffs) and win the league championship,” McBroom said of the Demons going for a fourth straight conference title. “Whatever we have to do to make that happen is what we have to focus on.”