DENVER — D’Evelyn softball needed some late-inning offensive heroics to grab its 13th victory on the season.
The Jaguars — No. 3 in this week’s CHSAANow.com Class 4A softball rankings — were locked in an impressive pitcher’s duel with Bear Creek on Monday at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School. Heading to the bottom of the sixth inning, Bear Creek senior Jordyn Johnson and D’Evelyn junior Avery Garbarek had combined for 19 strikeouts while giving up just one hit in a scoreless tie.
“It was patience on both side,” D’Evelyn coach Dan Porreco said. “We knew whoever had that one big hit would do it.”
D’Evelyn senior Kylee Ornstein stepped up to deliver the eventual game-winning hit with a 2-out RBI single to drive in Garbarek from third base for the first run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Garbarek had singled to start the rally.
“We are a really good hitting team,” Ornstein said after the 2-0 victory for the Jaguars in the Class 4A Jeffco League game. “When we keep our eyes on the ball all the way in until it hits the bat we can hit it anywhere.”
Junior Izzy Mussara hit the third single in the sixth for the Jaguars and Ornstein would score on a throwing error by Bear Creek, giving D’Evelyn a 2-0 lead heading to the seventh inning.
“We had that 2-run cushion and I wanted to just keep on firing,” Garbarek said of her mentality in the final inning.
Garbarek racked up strikeouts 10 and 11 before D’Evelyn first baseman Savannah Robberson ended the game catching a pop out by Johnson to complete the no-hitter.
“I really love having my great defense behind me,” said Garbarek after her first no-hitter this season. “Even if I miss a pitch and it gets hit I know my defense is behind me and will field the ball, make the play.”
The hardest hit ball Bear Creek (9-3, 3-1 in league) had was a line-drive by sophomore Alyiah Orozco in the top of the fourth inning that was caught by Ornstein at third base. The only baserunner that reached for the Bears was sophomore Kaithlyn Lazzaro, who walked in the third inning.
“We were really strong defensively,” Ornstein said. “Going into that last inning and being up 2 runs we know we still had to keep playing our game and keep everything in front.”
D’Evelyn (13-0, 5-0) took over first-place alone in 4A Jeffco with No. 1 Wheat Ridge (11-1, 4-1) handing No. 6 Conifer (10-2, 4-1) its first conference loss Monday. The Jaguars are at Wheat Ridge on Wednesday and travel to Conifer on Tuesday, Sept. 29.
Wins over the Farmers and Lobos over the next week would give the Jaguars that elusive conference title.
“To win league would be great,” Porreco said.
Facing Wheat Ridge and Conifer to close out the regular season before the 16-team state tournament Oct. 10 at Aurora Sports Complex is something D’Evelyn welcomes.
“I feel like as a team we are more motivated when we play tough competition,” Garbarek said.
Bear Creek will attempt to rebound at home against Evergreen on Thursday.