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Eagles shake early nerves

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Dakota Ridge scores eight runs in the 4th to topple Chatfield

By Michael Hicks

If there’s one thing that Dakota Ridge head coach Marv Van Lingen has been working on with the Lady Eagles, it’s putting together a complete game. The way the Sept. 28 “Think Pink” game started for both Dakota Ridge and visiting Chatfield, it didn’t appear either team was likely to do that. But Dakota Ridge settled down, started focusing on its hitting, and executed.
The end result was an 11-4 victory, thanks to an eight-run fourth inning,
“We were really nervous for this game. We were really excited, too. Maybe a little too excited,” said shortstop Megan Sansburn, who finished with three hits and scored three runs. Those nerves, however, evaporated in the fourth inning when Dakota Ridge sent 11 batters to the plate.
Cassidy Creekmore singled twice in the inning, scored a run and drove in another. She also hit a line-drive home run down the left-field line in the second inning.
“I didn’t really think it was going over the fence. I started running as fast as I could toward first,” Creekmore said.
Dakota Ridge (15-3, 6-1 5A Jeffco League) kept its hopes for a conference title alive with the victory. Pitcher Rachelle Foos, who held Chatfield to just one hit in the final three innings, finished with 11 strikeouts.
“It was huge for us. It seems like every year it comes down to a game just like this,” Van Lingen said. “It was huge for us to get this game in today. … We’re one game ahead of Chatfield now. The only team we have to worry about that we have no control over is Ralston Valley.”
The Lady Mustangs, who handed Dakota Ridge a 2-1 loss on Sept. 17, wrapped up conference play on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 with games against Standley Lake and Chatfield. Wins in both games would have locked up the 5A Jeffco League championship. A loss in either, coupled with a Dakota Ridge win over Lakewood on Oct. 1, would have given the Lady Eagles the conference title. Results weren’t available at press time.
Chatfield (9-7, 4-2) missed out on an opportunity to score in the third inning after back-to-back base-running blunders by Natalie Gaber and Rachel VanGulick ran the Lady Chargers out of the inning.
“It was a tough game. The girls should’ve stayed a little bit more composed,” Chatfield Senior head coach Nicole Janssen said. “It was one bad inning. That’s what happens when you make errors.”
Hayley Dunning went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, and Madison Nedved scored twice for Chatfield.

Contact Michael Hicks at sports@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 15.