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Golden unable to upset two-time defending 4A champs

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GOLDEN — Valor Christian baseball fell behind 1-0 early to Golden on April 28, but the two-time defending Class 4A state champions weren’t concerned.

“It’s great knowing that we have a team that can comeback from anything,” Valor senior Noah Kuzma said. “One run doesn’t mean anything to us. We are always able to bounce back.”

The Eagles (13-2 record), ranked No. 2 in the April 23 CHSAA 4A baseball poll, answered in a big way pounding out 16 hits on the way to a 13-3 victory in six innings on the Demons’ home field. Kuzma, along with fellow seniors Ryan Barber, Declan Wiesner and Brady Buechler hit home runs to lift Valor to its 10th straight victory.

Golden (11-6) had its first three batters reach base in the bottom of the first inning, but could only push one run across on a sacrifice fly by senior Noah Mitchell.

“We came out of the gate really well, which is great and encouraging,” Golden coach Jackie McBroom said. “We talked about someone getting that hit with the bases loaded. Whether it be a single or putting one in the gap, that goes a long way. We can’t be content with a bases loaded and a fly ball.”

After a bit of a shaky start, Valor starting pitcher Zechariah Reid settled in retiring 12 straight Demon batters. Reid pitched four innings, giving up just a pair of singles.

“I think Golden was one of the first teams we’ve seen really want to hit right away and they did a great job in that first inning,” Valor coach Brian Bonn said. “Reid really settled in. The curveball really worked for him to keep the batters off balance. Golden is a great one through nine hitting line-up.”

Golden got a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to avoid the 10-run mercy rule through five innings. Sophomore Ben McLaughlin singled in a run and Mitchell picked up his second RBI with a double to make the score 12-3 through five innings.

However, Valor pushed its lead back to 10 runs with an RBI double by Wiesner in the top of the seven inning. Golden failed to score in the bottom of the sixth inning despite having the bases loaded against Valor relief pitcher, freshman Radek Birkholz.

Valor has already guaranteed itself a third straight 4A Jeffco conference title. A third consecutive 4A state title is clearly a reachable goal for the Eagles who returned the majority of last year’s state title team.

“This year we have an unbelievable amount of talent and our brotherhood is crazy good,” Kuzma said. “We have a bunch of seniors and a lot of guys who love to be around each other.”

Golden hopes to tap into the postseason success it has last season. The Demons just qualified for the postseason and advanced to the eight-team double-elimination state tournament.

“We made a nice little run in the playoffs last year, but there in never a guarantee that is going to happen,” McBroom said. “We’ve got to be hungry and go get it. We can’t expect teams to just give it to us.”

Valor and Golden finished out the 4A Jeffco League Tournament with both facing Evergreen and Wheat Ridge this week.

Dennis Pleuss is a communications specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.

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