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Dakota Ridge opens season with win

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By Brian Forbes

HIGHLANDS RANCH — Ahhh, the beauty of Opening Day.

The sun on your face, the green grass, white chalk around the diamond, the smell of hot dogs coming from the shed behind home plate, the announcer trying to contend with a shoddy microphone and a football scrimmage atop a nearby hill.

Add to that serenity a Dakota Ridge squad with lots of fresh faces trying to make sure no hiccups, glitches or gaffes got in the way of defeating ThunderRidge.

They didn’t. The Eagles (1-0) erupted for five runs in the top of the second and that was all they needed for a 5-1 Class 5A nonleague victory over the Grizzlies on Aug. 22.

Dakota Ridge didn’t get a lot of offense out of the top of its order, and pitcher Jenn Anderson walked nearly as many batters as she struck out, but the Eagles were error-free and delivered in the clutch.

“For the first game of the year, six new starters, I was pleased,” Eagles coach Dave Atencio said. “First game jitters. They got them out and still did what I needed them to do. Good execution for the most part.”

Anderson threw a one-hit complete game, and had nine strikeouts to go with eight walks. Her defense and resolve was enough to get her out of just about every jam the patient Grizzlies could fabricate.

Anderson was also got Dakota Ridge’s key inning off to a great start when she laced a double down the right-field line to lead off the second inning. ThunderRidge (0-2) would certainly do its part.

The Eagles were simply trying to manufacture runs, but the Grizzlies made production go through the roof by committing three errors in the inning.

Danielle Poeter was the courtesy runner for Anderson and she would score from third when Christa Murphy’s sacrifice bunt attempt was botched on the throw from the catcher. Shortstop Lexy Chavez made it 2-0 when she drove a pitch to center field for another double.

The Eagles were again given big rewards for their small ball as Bre Berens’ sacrifice bunt attempt became another error on the Grizzlies that allowed Chavez to score and moved Berens to second.

Emily Hixon followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Berens to second before Michelle Stead slashed a RBI double down the left-field line. Stead went to second on a passed ball and came home via another error, this time on another throw by ThunderRidge’s catcher.