GOLDEN — The offensive numbers Golden’s identical twins Makayla and Makenzie Middleton have put up the previous three seasons on the softball field is mind boggling.
The Middleton twins have combined for 247 hits, 206 RBIs and 43 home runs over the past three seasons.
“I think the competition between us is what helps us the most,” Makayla said of the sibling rivalry. “If she (Makenzie) is hitting better then me I’m going to go into the cage more. If I’m hitting better, she is going to go in the cage more. Honestly it is what helps us the most.”
The Demons softball program has catapulted to a new level with their Wonder Twins leading the way. Golden has racked up a 53-18 record over the last three years, qualifying for the Class 4A state tournament twice.
This year will mark the final go-around for Golden’s three-year starting shortstop and center fielder.
“Four years goes by quick,” said Makayla, who has a career .488 batting average at Golden. “You can’t take it for granted.”
With the window closing on the Middleton-era, Golden coach Chad Herbers has been keeping the Demons focused on what was key for them last year to a 20-win season.
“We had a lot of success last year. We tried to look back to the root of why we had the success. We really analyzed and self reflexed,” Herbers said. “They way we want to start off this year is to make sure our team aspect is together. We are going to depend on each other.”
Herbers believed Golden really gelled as a team last season when it went on its impressive run. The Demons started the season off with a 3-6 record, but reeled off 17 straight victories — including a 10-0 sweep of the 4A Jeffco League — before losing in the second round of the 4A state tournament to Mountain View.
“I just feel like we need to come together and work together as a whole,” said Makenzie, who has a career .563 batting average. “That is how success comes. It’s not by one individual player. If we all work together I believe we’ll go really, really far.”
The twins won’t be going far to play their college softball once their playing days are done at Golden. Makayla and Makenzie verbally committed to Colorado Christian University in Lakewood over the summer. The Cougars are a Division II program that plays in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
“I am super excited. I really feel it was made for us,” Makenzie said of committing to CCU. “It was the best way to go with the program and softball.”
Despite having Division I talent, the twins wanted to both play right away at the college level and make an impact.
Herbers knows if the Demons are going to make another deep run in the postseason they can’t rely solely on the twins.
“They (Middleton twins) are sitting in that senior, leadership, upperclassmen role and they are doing a great job so far,” Herbers said on the eve of Golden’s season opener Friday afternoon at Valor Christian in Highlands Ranch. “They have to have some level of support from freshmen and sophomores below them.”
Golden graduated a handful of seniors from last year’s team. The graduation of three-year starting pitcher Cassidy Paulson might be the biggest shoes to fill.
“Cass is very difficult to replace, but again, thinking back she was a freshman at one point. She had to develop to become a very good pitcher,” Herbers said. “I have five pitchers right now. We have a great core of throwers who are developing very nicely.”
Herbers does have the luxury of starting catcher Marla Goodspeed back behind the plate to handle whatever pitcher ends up carrying the load for the Demons.
“Our defense is definitely our strong suit,” said Goodspeed, who batted .348 last season and led the team with 13 doubles. “We just need somebody to be in there to get some ground balls and pop outs.”
Golden is definitely on the radar as a 4A state contender. The Demons were ranked No. 5 in the CHSAANow.com preseason poll. Herbers said it was a “great honor” be he and his players knows it will take a lot of hard work to get Golden in position to meet its ultimate goal.
“It’s a step at a time because we don’t want to go too fast. We don’t want to lose track of our mind and our goals,” Makayla said. “If we continue to practice hard, play hard and play with passion we will get there.”