ARVADA — One of the best situations on the softball field can by racing away from teammates who are trying to dump the water bucket on you after a game-winning hit. That was the case Saturday, Oct. …
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ARVADA — One of the best situations on the softball field can by racing away from teammates who are trying to dump the water bucket on you after a game-winning hit.
That was the case Saturday, Oct. 2, for Arvada West sophomore Lexi Sandoval. The Wildcats were locked in a 8-8 tie in the bottom of the ninth inning in a huge Class 5A Jeffco League game. With the winning run on third base and one out, Sandoval had her moment to shine.
“I just wanted to get on base no matter what. Hit the ball in play and score that last run however possible,” Sandoval said of her approach with the game on the line. “Hit it and hope for the best.”
Sandoval hit a looping flare just out of reach of Lakewood second baseman Emily Gallegos that allowed A-West freshman Jailynn Ausman to dash home to end the extra inning game in dramatic fashion.
“She (Sandoval) is such a battler and that is why we have moved her around in our line-up a little bit,” A-West coach Brenna Millikan said. “Putting her in the No. 2 hole in my gut I felt she would play a big role for us in that spot.”
Sandoval did a little more running as her teammates chased her down with the water jug to celebrate the conference victory for A-West (13-7-1, 3-2 in league).
“I knew we would pull through,” A-West sophomore pitcher Mac Ferguson said after she got the win on the mound pitching a complete-game. “The team really played together and for one another.”
The Wildcats got out to early leads of 4-0 and 7-4, but the Tigers (13-7, 2-2) continued to battle and eventually tied the game with a 3-run top of the seventh inning. Junior Angelyse Martinez had a 2-run triple and scored the tying run on an RBI single by senior Faith Giebenrath to send the game into extra innings.
Senior Destiny Martinez came in for Lakewood starting pitcher Reagan Medina in the bottom of the first inning. Martinez allowed three runs in the third and then an RBI single by A-West junior Kendall Mulvaney in the bottom for the fourth inning.
However, Mulvaney’s single would be the last hit for A-West until Sandoval’s walk-off hit.
“Those situations are stressful, but that is why you play the game,” Ferguson said of the Wildcats without a hit from the bottom of the fourth inning until Sandoval’s walk-off single. “It makes it fun and gives us energy.”
Ferguson battled after Lakewood tied things up late. Millikan decided to stay with Ferguson once the game went extra innings.
“We have a lot of depth in our pitching staff at A-West,” Millikan said. “I knew I could have gone to anyone, but I just knew Mac was still in a groove and handling the situation well.”
It was the 10th win on the mound for Ferguson this season.
“Lakewood is a great team, but I think it was a must-win,” Ferguson said after A-West dropped conference games to Valor Christian and Chatfield earlier last week. “This gives a lot of confidence going into the next couple of games next week.”
A-West closes out the regular-season with conference road games at Columbine (Monday) and Pomona (Wednesday). The Wildcats still has a shot at the league title despite Columbine (16-3, 4-0) being in the driver’s seat.
“I just want us to finish strong,” Millikan said after the Wildcats ended a 2-game losing streak. “As long as we can continue to learn and grow all I’m asking for is we finish strong.”
A-West and Lakewood are almost locks to advance to the regional playoffs. Both are currently in the top-15 in the RPI rankings.
The Tigers face a trio of league games this week. Lakewood faces Pomona, Columbine and Valor to close out its regular season.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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