Historic win for Eagles

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Shuout is 200th win in program’s history

By Brian Forbes

When you send a girl nicknamed Bam to the plate, certain outcomes shouldn’t surprise anyone.

How about a two-run, walk-off home run?

Bam Mammenga got everything out of her one at-bat Aug. 29 as her home run to center field gave the Dakota Ridge Eagles a 10-0 Class 5A nonleague home-opening victory over the ThunderRidge Grizzlies.

The ball appeared to skim off the center fielder’s glove before all parties were separated by the fence. The ball bounded up the hill toward Easton Park and the Eagles went wild for their sophomore hero.

“I thought she caught it,” Mammenga said. “I was like, ‘Dang, I popped out.’”

The victory was the 200th in Dakota Ridge history. Quite an accomplishment for a program with one state title and two runners-up finishes – all under one coach.

“It’s special for us and the program, and for me, being here since day one,” said Eagles skipper Dave Atencio, who has remained with the program long after his daughter, Monica, graduated.

“I love coaching too much,” he said.

Sophomore pitcher Jasmine Marquez threw a two-hitter, while striking out seven and walking just one. Her off-speed pitchers were struggling to find the strike zone early on, which made her lean on her fastball. Once she got in the groove, however, everything seemed to be working fine.

“We’re a young group,” Atencio said. “We got two sophomore pitchers. Both first-year varsity kids. But we’re going to lean heavily on them.”

The Eagles backed Marquez up with some smart defense. Third baseman Lexie Chavez made a great diving catch on the line in the fourth inning, and second baseman Courtney Sharp made a perfect throw in the third inning on a fielder’s choice to get the lead runner at third.

Dakota Ridge got the bats warmed up in time for a four-run third inning. Spencer Ferrin’s RBI triple was followed up by consecutive run-scoring doubles by catcher Ashley Behabetz and Marquez.

The Eagles tacked another four runs on in the bottom of the fourth inning. Danielle Porter was hit by a pitch, Michelle Stead reached on a bunt single and leadoff Bre Berens walked to load the bases. Ferrin drew a walk to score a run and Behabetz hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field and Marquez singled home a run.

Marquez led the Eagles with two hits. She and Ferrin, Behabetz and Mammenga all drove in two runs apiece.

“Who said pitchers can’t hit?” Marquez said.

Berens, who stole two bases, scored two runs. Ferrin and Mackenzie Weber also scored two runs apiece.

The Eagles defeated Northglenn 4-2 on Aug. 27 behind a three-hitter from pitcher Bre Arneach, who struck out eight.

ThunderRidge 000 00    0 2 3

Dakota Ridge 004 42    10 9 1

Dakota Ridge: Berens 1b 1-2-1-0, Ferrin dh 2-2-1-2, Hart ss 3-1-0-0, Behabetz c 2-0-1-2, Weber cr-ph 1-2-0-0, Marquez p 3-0-2-2, Mammenga cr-ph 1-1-1-2, Chavez 3b 3-0-1-0, Sharp 2b 3-0-1-0, Porter cf 1-1-0-0, Stead lf 2-1-1-0. Totals 22-10-9-8.

E – Stead (catch). LOB – Dakota Ridge 5. SB – Berens 2, Ferrin, Stead. SAC – Behabetz. 2B – Behabetz, Marquez. 3B – Sharp, Ferrin. HR – Mammenga (one on in fifth).

Battery – Marquez and Behabetz. W – Marquez.