Wheat Ridge pitching ace Aaron Arcilise picks up fourth win on the hill

WHEAT RIDGE — It’s pretty clear every time senior pitcher Aaron Arcilise takes the hill for Wheat Ridge’s baseball team he gives the Farmers a great chance of grabbing a victory.

“I haven’t seen all of 4A, but the way we can play (defense) and the way he pitches, I’d put him up against anybody,” Wheat Ridge coach Adam Miller said of the Farmers’ ace. “He can throw any pitch in the count. He strikes out a bunch and we play good defense. That is the right formula.”

Wheat Ridge senior Ethan Sitzman, left, forces out Arvada West senior Grayson Zinanti (3) during the fifth inning Tuesday afternoon at Everitt Middle School. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

Wheat Ridge (4-3 record) used those right ingredients Tuesday afternoon to take a 5-1 home victory over Arvada West. The Farmers manufactured a single run in the first and third innings using a pair of sacrifice bunts by sophomore Wes Miller, followed by RBI singles by junior Dominic Bronk to take a 2-0 lead.

Arcilise was nearly unhittable through seven innings. He finished with 10 strikeouts, while giving up just two hits to grab his fourth victory on the hill. The hard-throwing righty has given up just two runs and six hits while striking out 48 batters in 26 innings so far this season.

“They give me the confidence to throw any pitch in any count,” Arcilise said of the Farmers’ defense. “I know these guys have my back 100 percent.”

A-West (5-7) scored its lone run with an RBI double by senior Liam Spaw in the top of the fourth inning that trimmed the Farmers’ lead to 2-1.

However, Wheat Ridge plated three runs off four hits and two throw errors by the Wildcats in the bottom of the sixth inning to extend the lead to 5-1. Junior Kyle Radi’s RBI single drove in senior Anthony Tate, who doubled to lead off the inning.

Senior DJ Dewitz’s sacrifice fly to center field drove in Radi. Wheat Ridge’s final run came on a wild play. A pick-off attempt of junior Sammy Stahl at first base sailed wild. Stahl was off and running on the error. He eventually scored when a throw to third base got away.

Arvada West senior Dominic Folks leaves his feet as he fires the ball over to first base for the out Tuesday against Wheat Ridge. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“We aren’t the Wheat Ridge team of 2007,” Coach Miller said of the Farmers having to utilize ‘small ball’ to produce runs. “But we are as good a defensive team as we have ever had and Arcilise is as good as anyone we’ve had on the bump.”

The Farmers have a handful of basketball players that helped Wheat Ridge to its first conference hoops title since 2007.

“After coming off basketball (4A Jeffco League title) the school is running with the mojo,” Bronk said. “We are looking good.”

Wheat Ridge is scheduled to start conference play Saturday, April 13, at Littleton. The league formate is a little different with home-and-away games against the same team two days apart.

“Expectations are definitely high for us,” Arcilise said about 4A Jeffco play. “We expect to win every single game. We expect to be the league champs, but that doesn’t come without hard work and putting in the time to be good enough to beat all those teams.”

One downer for the Farmers is junior Cael Yenzer won’t be pitching this spring. Off-season surgery will keep the lefty from throwing this season, but Miller said he could pinch-hit for the Farmers a little later this season.

“We do have some depth pitching, but we are young,” Coach Miller said. “We are going to have to see how things shake out.”

A-West is scheduled for one final non-league game at Castle View on Monday, April 15, before starting up 5A Jeffco play at rival Ralston Valley on April 18.

Aaron Arcilise is making a pitch as one of the top pitchers in Class 4A this season. The Wheat Ridge senior has allowed just two runs in 26 innings, while striking out 48 batters. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)