LAKEWOOD — If there’s one thing Jack Kortarba and the Dakota Ridge Eagles don’t lack, it’s confidence. They believe they can score at any time, even when they’re trailing by eight runs.
That’s what Dakota Ridge did April 27 at Keli McGregor Field at All-Star Park. The only problem was, the Eagles didn’t score enough runs. Their six-run rally, while valiant, wasn’t enough, as the Eagles suffered their first 5A Jeffco League loss 11-8 to Ralston Valley.
“We hit the ball pretty consistently — it just didn’t drop,” Kortarba said. “We had our heads up the whole time. They definitely hit the ball, and we had to battle back, but we just started too late.”
Ralston Valley built a 10-2 lead with multiple runs in the first, second, third and fifth innings, including back-to-back homers from Josh Peterson and Jacob Knipp in the third. The homers came after the Mustangs (9-5, 2-1 5A Jeffco) had chased Dakota Ridge starter Kaylor Greenstreet, who allowed six runs on six hits and walked three in two-plus innings.
“He was just a little bit off today. There were a couple of pitches he missed. He’s been on all year. He was just off today,” Dakota Ridge head coach Jeff Legault said.
Ralston Valley nearly ended the game in five via the 10-run mercy rule with a 10-2 lead, two on base, and 6-foot-10, 305-pound cleanup hitter Daniel Skipper at the plate. The Eagles elected to intentionally walk Skipper and take their chances with the bases loaded. It worked out.
“They had the winning run at second base, and he’s had a good offensive year,” Legault said. “We walked him to set up the double play. It happened to work out.”
It gave Dakota Ridge (8-6, 3-1) time to get its bats going in the sixth. The Eagles got a two-run single from Kortarba and a two-out, bases-clearing double from designated hitter Bryce Carson.
Unfortunately, Ralston Valley added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning, and Mitch Robinson retired the final four batters to end the game. Dakota Ridge maintains a share of the league lead, but faces a stretch of four league games in five days in the final full week of the season.
“The way the league is set up, you’ve got to have a short memory. Funky things are going to happen,” Legault said. “Everybody is deep into their pitching now. For three days there have been some goofy scores. (This) week’s going to be crazy.”
Contact Michael Hicks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.