ARVADA — The senior baseball players made their final day of classes at Ralston Valley High School a memorable one.
After finishing up finals and roaming the halls for one last day, the Mustangs headed out Nate Jurney Field and won themselves the Class 5A Jeffco League title.
“For us as seniors to win league, it’s something I’ve always dreamed about,” Ralston Valley senior pitcher Calvin Hunt said after the Mustangs’ 4-0 victory over Columbine. “To pitch in the league championship game that decides it all. We just want to come out here and compete.”
Hunt did more than just compete, he was nearly perfect on the mound for the Mustangs (13-8, 7-1 in league). The senior tossed a complete-game, no-hitter against Columbine (10-10, 5-3).
It was the first no-hitter for Hunt this spring. He finished with 11 strikeouts while walking three batters. Ralston Valley’s defense was flawless behind him.
“He was dominate today,” Madden said of the Mustangs’ ace. “He had both pitches (fastball and curveball) going for strikes. He stayed focused.”
Hunt, who had a pair of finals before heading out to the diamond, admitted he was a little wild warming up. He walked the first batter he faced, but quickly got locked in.
“Once I stepped on the mound I was in a whole new world,” Hunt said.
Offensively, Ralston Valley touched up Columbine starting pitcher Brady McLean for a pair of runs in the first and second innings. Senior Trey Adams delivered a two-run single to in the bottom of the first inning to give the Mustangs a 2-0 lead.
“I just had to sit back on a fastball and hit something hard,” said Adams, who reached base on all three plate appearances.
Senior Jude Martinez came through for the Mustangs in the second inning. The Rebels intentionally walked senior AJ Jergensen to load the bases with two outs. Martinez jumped on the first pitch he saw and blooped it to short left field for a two-run double.
“It doesn’t always have to be the long ball,” Madden said of Martinez’s flare over third base in the bottom of the second inning. “Sometime the little things take care of themselves.”
Hunt took care of things with a 4-0 lead. Columbine came in having won 7-of-8 games, but couldn’t advance a runner past second base the entire game. The final out was a fly ball to centerfield that Jergensen hauled in to start the celebration.
“When he (Hunt) has his confidence going he just dominates the rest of the game,” Adams said. “That is what happened today.”
What happens now is Ralston Valley plays Columbine and Valor Christian (11-9, 6-2) in a pair of non-league games Saturday. The Mustangs then wait to see where they are seeded for regional playoffs that start Friday and Saturday (May 17 and 18).
“We wanted this to be its own thing,” Madden said about getting the league finale in before playing two games Saturday back at Nate Jurney Field. “This was basically for the league championship. It was good to get it in today.”
Madden pulled off a rare feat of winning a conference championship with a third different Jeffco baseball program. He guided Golden and Green Mountain to league titles before adding another conference title at Ralston Valley.
“It’s not about me. I know that for sure,” Madden said of claiming a conference title at a third different Jeffco baseball program. “I’ve got one of the best coaching staffs around, I did at my old places too. It’s a team effort. Coaching good players makes you a good coach.”