GOLDEN — It’s not even debatable who is the hottest hitter in Colorado to begin the prep softball season — Golden senior Makayla Middleton.
The leadoff batter for the Demons has put together an incredible five-game stretch to start the season. Middleton is 20-for-21 from the plate with five home runs, 16 RBIs and 18 runs scored, all equaling up to an unthinkable .952 batting average.
“I honestly couldn’t tell you,” Middleton said when asked to explain her remarkable start that continued Tuesday with a 5-for-5 day from the plate that included a solo home run, double and three singles while scoring four runs in a 9-2 home victory over Conifer. “I’m just going up there to hit the ball. I’m in that leadoff spot to get on base. That’s all I’m trying to do.”
Middleton has already nearly reached her hit total from her freshman season where she finished 21-for-63 from the plate, a .333 average.
“Has anyone had a player start 20-for-21 from the plate? She is seeing the ball extremely well. That’s obvious,” Golden coach Chad Herbers said. “She is going up the middle, going the other way and hitting line drives.”
Makayla’s identical twin sister isn’t off to a bad start either. Makenzie Middleton is batting .773 with three home runs and 17 RBIs.
The twins aren’t doing the damage alone for the Demons, ranked No. 5 in CHSAANow.com’s Class 4A softball preseason poll. Junior Marla Goodspeed is batting .550 with 14 RBIs and belted her second home run of the season Tuesday against Conifer.
“That is what we needed,” Middleton said of Goodspeed’s three-run home run to give the Demons an early lead Tuesday. “Those early runs are crucial.”
Goodspeed’s blast gave Golden an 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. The Demons’ starting catcher also drove in a run with a bases-loaded squeeze bunt in the fifth inning that scored Makayla from third base.
“Marla does exactly what she needs to do,” Herbers said. “In the same game she hits a three-run home run and squeeze (bunt) somebody in. Not many people can say they’ve done that.”
Senior Molly Hord is also batting over .500. While she was just 1-for-1 from the plate due to four walks Tuesday, she has been key batting in the No. 2 hole between the Middleton twins.
“I think it’s confidence right now,” Makayla said of the Demons’ offense that has scored 69 runs in five games.
Golden senior pitcher Emma Graham has been solid in the circle. Graham didn’t play high school softball last season after transferring from Lakewood High School. She has been just what the Demons needed to fill the shoes of graduated three-year starting pitcher Cassidy Paulson.
“I really enjoy the team,” Graham said after allowing just two runs and three hits in a complete-game victory over Conifer. “We have a really good dynamic. I’m able to depend on girls when maybe everything doesn’t go perfectly.”
The Lobos (1-3 record) touched up Graham with a two-run single by Conifer sophomore Cheyenne Prieto, but he senior retired the next seven batters she faced to close out the game.
“She (Graham) has stepped up and is throwing strikes,” Herbers said. “She has bought in to the defense and letting them work for her.”
Golden is back on the field on the road against Thomas Jefferson at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29. The Demons should get a good test against 5A Jeffco’s Arvada West on Tuesday, Sept. 3.
Conifer has another road game against a 4A Jeffco program. Wheat Ridge (3-1 record) hosts the Lobos at Pennington Elementary at 4 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 29.