No. 1 Mountain Vista baseball holds off Arvada West

Mountain Vista senior Grant Magill fouls off a pitch during Tuesday's non-league game at Arvada West. Magill reached base five times and drove in four runs in a 10-7 victory for the defending Class 5A state champs. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

ARVADA — Mountain Vista coach Ron Quintana wouldn’t mind getting in a few more practices sometime in the near future.

“We haven’t really practiced,” Quintana said after the Golden Eagles took a 10-7 road victory over Arvada West on Tuesday afternoon. “Can we get better? Yes. We just need practice.”

Top-ranked and defending Class 5A baseball state champion Mountain Vista already has seven games under their belts. The Golden Eagles squeezed in a pair of wins over Chatfield and Arapahoe during the opening week of the spring season.

Arvada West junior Noah McCandless fires to the plate against top-ranked Mountain Vista on Tuesday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Last week while the "Bomb Cyclone" pretty much postponed every high school baseball game in the state from Wednesday through the weekend, Mountain Vista (5-2 record) was able to get in four games at the Scott Borus Classic Tournament in Arizona.

“Getting out there and just playing really helps the team,” Mountain Vista senior Grant Magill said. “Our Arizona trip is really where I think we find out what kind of team we actually are.”

Against A-West (1-1) the Golden Eagles actually trailed 6-5 after three innings. However, a 3-run top of the fifth inning allowed Mountain Vista to regain the lead. Magill was a hitting machine reaching base on all five plate appearances and drove in four runs.

“He (Magill) is seeing the ball good,” said Quintana of his starting catcher that is hitting well over .700 on the season with double-digit hits and RBIs already this season. “I don’t want to talk too much because I don’t want to jinx it.”

Mountain Vista hit the ball through most of the line-up against the Wildcats. Senior John Zakhem had a trio of hits which included a pair of doubles. The Golden Eagles cranked out a season-high dozen hits in Tuesday win.

“In the past games we haven’t been as aggressive,” Magill said. “In this game we came out ready to swing. I think that was the difference.”

Mountain Vista junior Aidan Smith tosses the ball over to first base for an out Tuesday at Arvada West High School. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Junior Carter Johnson picked up the victory on the mound pitching a pair of scoreless inning in the fourth and fifth. Sophomore Evan Magill picked up the save getting the final three outs for Mountain Vista.

“That is what we expect from him,” Quintana said of the younger Magill. “He has the mentality to be a closer and he has good stuff.”

A-West was coming off a shutout victory last week against Green Mountain and showed signs of what is possible this season. Junior Braden Thomson reached base on all four plate appearances while driving in a pair of runs.

The Wildcats took advantage of a trio of Mountain Vista errors in the bottom of the third inning to plate four runs while batting around, but A-West ended with four errors itself.

“We had only played one (previous) game and we are trying to figure out where we are at. We didn’t play perfect,” A-West coach Matt McDougal said. “When you play a team like that you can’t make mistakes.”

McDougal used a handful of pitchers — Kyle Tolly, Jay Lambert, Cole Doebele and Noah McCandless — in the loss. McCandless took the loss after pitching three and 2/3 innings.

“We are working on some stuff,” McDougal said of using four different pitchers in the first four innings. “We’ve got to be in the zone more. Too many walks. Walks hurt us.”

A-West will be right back on the field against another 5A powerhouse in No. 6 Rocky Mountain on Wednesday afternoon back on the Wildcats’ home field.

“We can’t hang our heads because we have Rocky tomorrow,” McDougal said. “If we are down we are going to get rolled. We have to come back and compete tomorrow. We can feel good going down to Arizona and hopefully that will jumpstart us a little bit.”

A-West heads down to Arizona for spring break in the middle of next week to get in some non-league games before returning to acton in Colorado to start the month of April.

Arvada West junior Braden Thomson leads off first base during Tuesday's game against the defending Class 5A state champion Mountain Vista. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)