Arvada West softball cranks out win in league opener

ARVADA — Arvada West and Ralston Valley softball teams came out swinging in both teams’ Class 5A Jeffco League opener Saturday.

The conference rivals combined for 23 runs and 28 hits at Ralston Valley High School. When the dust settled, A-West came away with a 15-8 victory to get off on the right foot in league play.

“They (Ralston Valley) keep on battling, so we had to keep on hitting,” Arvada West senior Christaana Angelopulos said. “It’s a tough game always. It’s a rivalry. It’s always good to get it off our belt a little bit because we build up to it. It’s a good win.”

A-West senior Gianna Haley slides into third during her 2-run triple Saturday against rival Ralston Valley. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Angelopulos, who actually played for Ralston Valley her freshman and sophomore years before transferring to A-West, had to longest blast of the game. The Colorado State University-commit hammered a ball over the 245-feet fences for a 3-run home run in the top of the third inning to give the Wildcats a 9-2 lead.

It came after A-West’s lead-off hitter was walked her first two at-bats.

“It felt good to finally get some solid contact because I’ve been struggling a little bit at the plate,” said Angelopulos of her lone hit of the game. “To finally breakout is really awesome.”

A-West (9-5 record, 1-0 in league) had five players — Gianna Haley, Shelby Robb, Payton Bowser, Jadyn Sabell and Alexis Folks — with multi-hit games.

“When we are able to feed off each other’s energy that is when we are successful,” A-West coach Brenna Millikan said. “Our goal today was to string hits together and feed off that energy. I thought we did much better with our approach at the plate today.”

A-West took advantage of six walks in the opening three innings that helped the Wildcats open up a big lead.

Ralston Valley sophomore Jordan West (11) is fired up after her RBI triple in the fifth inning Saturday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“We finally stepped up to the plate and we all executed,” said Robb, who ripped a key 2-run double in the Wildcats’ 4-run sixth inning that helped close the door. “We strung hits together finally. It was good to see us do our job.”

Ralston Valley (8-8, 0-1) didn’t go quietly. The Mustangs got to A-West starting pitcher Savannah Clausen in the fifth inning to cut the Wildcats’ lead to 11-7. The Mustangs cranked out five extra-base hits.

“The keep battling,” Ralston Valley senior Kayee Cerrone said. “We were down 9-2, but we kept positive throughout the game.”

Cerrone, Jordan West and McKenna Fitzgerald all had triples for Ralston Valley in the loss. The Mustangs’ defense was solid without any errors, but A-West offense was just too much for Ralston Valley to handle.

“We have to keep team from scoring that many runs,” Ralston Valley coach Wendy Davies said. “Our defense played well and we hit the ball well. Our pitching could have been a little bit better. I think the more they pitch the better and more confident they will feel out there.”

Freshman Maya Bachman and sophomore Makena Geist both pitched for Ralston Valley in the loss. Davies was pleased how her team continued to fight despite the deficit and hopes it will serve the Mustangs in games to come.

“Sometime we’ll be down in a game something like 4-2 and we’ll be able to fight back to win,” Davies said.

Ralston Valley heads to Pomona for another league game 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 18. A-West had a busy week with three home games in three days starting Monday, Sept. 17, against Grandview and continuing with conference game against Bear Creek and Chatfield.

Arvada West players had plenty to cheer about Saturday as the Wildcats opened 5A Jeffco League play with a 15-8 victory over rival Ralston Valley. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)