No. 2 Arvada West clinches 5A Jeffco softball title

ARVADA — Arvada West’s bats turned a close Class 5A Jeffco League championship game against Pomona into an eventual 10-run mercy rule outcome in a hurry.

A-West, No. 2 in the 5A softball rankings, was in locked in its closest game in nearly a month. Heading to the fifth inning, the Wildcats (15-3, 6-0 in league) held just a 2-1 lead on rival Pomona (11-6, 5-1) on the Panthers’ home field.

The Wildcats lite up the scoreboard with an 11-run top of the fifth inning on the way to a 13-1 victory that clinched the 5A Jeffco League title.

Pomona's Bree Shaffer, left, forces out A-West's Kailey Robb at second base. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“It means the world to me and the rest of the seniors,” A-West senior Morgan Clausen said of clinching the conference title. “It’s insane to think it’s done. It was awesome to finish it on a rival’s field.”

A-West senior Kailey Robb opened up the flood gates in the top of the fifth inning with a 3-run home run off Pomona senior pitcher Tiffany Vigil.

“I knew I had to wait for my pitch and be patient,” said Robb, who walked her first two at-bats. “I saw the pitch come inside and unleashed.”

The Wildcats went back-to-back when senior Christaana Angelopulos belted a long solo home run over the center-field fence to extend A-West’s lead to 6-1. Angelopulos had a 2-run double later in the inning and Clausen finished out the inning with a 2-run single.

“It was a close game,” said Clausen, who got the win on the hill for A-West giving up just one run on five hits. “I think with those two home runs we were able to take a deep breath. It helped relieve some nerves.”

A-West senior Morgan Clausen fires to the plate Wednesday against Pomona. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

The fifth inning has been remarkable for the Wildcats in back-to-back games. A-West posted 13 runs in the top of the fifth the previous day against Columbine in a 21-3 win.

“You have to credit Arvada West. They are a very, very good hitting team,” Pomona coach Jim Biddle said. “Hitting is contagious. Today was a good example of that. Our team just couldn’t get on fire. (Destiny Maes) hits that ball off the wall in the fourth inning. That could have been our ignitor.”

Maes came mire inches from hitting a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning that would have tied things up at 2-2. However, her line-drive just hit the top of the fence. She had to settle for a double and was eventually stranded at second.

“Unfortunately it didn’t go our way,” said Maes, who was 2-for-2 from the plate. “We are excited for Lakewood tomorrow and I think we’ll do really good. We are going to pick ourselves up.”

A-West and Pomona came into Wednesday’s game with two of the longest winning streaks in 5A. The Wildcats have won 10 straight games. Only No. 3 Brighton (16 wins) and No. 1 Eaglecrest (13 wins) have longer winning streaks. Pomona had its 9-game winning streak snapped.

“We’ll be fine. We have a very good team,” Biddle said. “We are looking forward to a playoff run. Second place in this league is pretty good.”

The Wildcats close out their league and regular season with Senior Day at A-West on Thursday, Oct. 5. Pomona concludes its conference schedule against Lakewood tomorrow too, before having a non-league game at D’Evelyn on Saturday, Oct. 7.

A-West players wait for Christaana Angelopulos to reach home plate after a solo home run during the Wildcats' 11-run top of the fifth inning against Pomona. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)