Dakota Ridge baseball battles back to defeat Pomona

LAKEWOOD — Dakota Ridge baseball has found a flair for the dramatics earlier during Class 5A Jeffco League play.

In less than 48 hours, the Eagles (8-7, 2-0 in 5A Jeffco) scored in the final inning twice to pull off back-to-back conference victories. The latest escape act came Saturday afternoon at Keli McGregor Field at All Star Park in a wild 12-10 win over Pomona (3-11, 0-2).

Dakota Ridge senior Henry Fox (7) crosses home plate during the Eagles' five-run second inning Saturday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

“Hopefully we don’t have any more of these during league, but if we do we know what to do to get the win,” said Dakota Ridge senior Ben Biffinger.

Dakota Ridge got an RBI single by Biffinger in the top of the seventh inning to break at 10-10 tie. Pomona intentionally walked senior Ryan Stohr after senior Jake Sansburn doubled with one out in the seventh.

“That is something we’ve talked about with Ben all year long,” Dakota Ridge coach Jeff Legault said of Pomona giving the free pass to Stohr to face Biffinger. “It’s going to happen in the future. They are going to come after (Biffinger) and he has to be ready to swing it.”

Biffinger finished 2-for-3 from the plate with two walks and a pair of runs scored.

“I feel like when they walk some intentionally that it’s my job to show them that they should have intentionally walked me,” Biffinger said. “I need to prove them wrong and I did that today.”

Dakota Ridge senior Brody Stevens (9) gets caught in a rundown Saturday afternoon at All Star Park. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

A fly ball to right field by junior Mason Sauter scored another running in the seventh to give Dakota Ridge an insurance run heading to the final half of the seventh with a two-run advantage.

“We’ve been in tight games, especially two days ago. That helped,” Legault said referring to the Eagles’ walk-off victory Thursday with a two-run home run by Sansburn to defeat rival Columbine 8-6.

Still, things got interesting when Pomona loaded the bases with one out and sophomore Brady Ritzman coming to the plate in the seventh. Ritzman belted a grand slam during the Panthers’ seven-run sixth inning, but the sophomore grounded out in a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

“I think you have to give a lot of credit to Dakota,” Pomona coach EJ Mapps said. “After what we did in the sixth, a lot of high school teams would really let that effect them. Dakota Ridge isn’t like that. That’s due to Jeff and their other coaches.”

Dakota Ridge junior Jacob Diaz picked up the victory after taking the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning and getting the final five outs of the Eagles. He also picked up the win on the hill in the comeback win over Columbine.

Dakota Ridge junior Jacob Diaz has grabbed back-to-back victories on the hill in relieve for the Eagles to start 5A Jeffco League play. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)

It’s the third straight win for Dakota Ridge after the Eagles went through a five-game losing streak

“It’s a good feeling and a good confidence booster for sure,” said Diaz of Dakota Ridge keeping pace with Lakewood and Ralston Valley at 2-0 in league play.

Valor Christian is right in the mix after a 1-0 conference start with a 7-3 win over Chatfield following Dakota Ridge’s win at All Star Park.

Pomona is in the same boat as Arvada West and Bear Creek with 0-2 league starts.

“I was proud of our kids for coming back the way they did,” Mapps said. “We’ve had some tough games. We’ve lost some close ones. They are still trying to find their confidence.”

Dakota Ridge shortstop Jake Sansburn (2) reaches for the ball as Pomona senior Colton Muller steals second base Saturday. The Eagles are off to a 2-0 conference start. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)