LITTLETON — Chatfield softball coach Jen Lazzeri won’t have to break out a calculator to figure out RPI points. The Chargers — No. 5 in the CHSAANow.com Class 5A softball rankings — locked up …
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LITTLETON — Chatfield softball coach Jen Lazzeri won’t have to break out a calculator to figure out RPI points.
The Chargers — No. 5 in the CHSAANow.com Class 5A softball rankings — locked up the 5A Jeffco League title and maybe more importantly the automatic bid to the 5A state tournament Sept. 23 with an 11-1 home victory against Pomona.
“This is so special with the year,” Lazzeri said of the Chargers winning their first conference softball title since 2011. “ Playing in a pandemic and losing Courtney two weeks ago, a huge emotional leader for us. These kids just have been on an emotional rollercoaster. It’s a special group. I’m so proud of them.”
Senior Courtney Bidwell was part of a group of students and teachers who had to be quarantined for two weeks. Bidwell will be out of quarantine on Tuesday, Sept. 29, according to Lazzeri.
“It feels amazing. We were really doing it for our seniors,” Chatfield junior Kailey Horton said. “We’ve got a good group of girls, especially with our seniors we want to do the best we can for them and finish strong.”
Chatfield (12-3 record, 6-0 in league) started out a little slow offensively against Pomona 8-6, 3-2). Senior Izzy DiNapoli had an RBI single in the first inning and Horton had a solo home run in the third inning, but the Chargers stranded a pair of running in each of the first four innings.
Horton’s lead-off shot over the left field fence was a sign of what yet to come.
“It was definitely a tight game. I was just going up there looking for a base hit,” Horton said. “I definitely exceeded the expectations for myself.”
A bunt single by junior Peyton Shepard and a pair of throwing errors by the Panthers allowed Shepard to score in the fourth inning to push Chatfield’s lead to 3-0. The flood gates opened in the fifth and six innings for the Chargers.
Chatfield put up five runs in the fifth and added three more in the sixth inning to induce the 10-run mercy rule to end the game.
“Our bats have been cold for a couple of weeks and we’ve been struggling,” Lazzeri said. “We just have to battle on stringing hits together. We did nothing but hit yesterday. Sometimes when you are slumping you just have to keep fighting through it.”
The Chargers cranked out 14 hits. DiNapoli led the way going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBIs. The senior ace was also her normal dominating self in the circle. She gave up just four hits and one run for her ninth win of the season.
“It definitely feels good because that has been our team goal from the beginning,” DiNapoli said of Chatfield winning the conference title.
Chatfield has one conference game left. The Chargers are on the road against Arvada West on Wednesday, Sept. 30. Then it will be a bit of a wait before the state tournament on Oct. 10.
Pomona has a couple of league game left. The Panthers host Ralston Valley and Lakewood this week. The Panthers were 19th in the RPI standings to begin the final week of the regular season. With the conference champions and the rest of the 16-team field being determined by RPI it will be a numbers game for who will make the state tournament.
While Chatfield is in the state tournament and Lakewood (8th in RPI) is sitting in good position, Ralston Valley (16th in RPI), Columbine (17th in RPI) and Pomona will likely need to win out and possible get some help to make the state tournament field.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more coverage go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.
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