GOLDEN — It’s a bad idea to hit the ball in the area of Golden senior centerfielder Mackenzie Middleton. A little advice to Class 4A softball after Middleton threw out runners at second, third …
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GOLDEN — It’s a bad idea to hit the ball in the area of Golden senior centerfielder Mackenzie Middleton.
A little advice to Class 4A softball after Middleton threw out runners at second, third and home plate the the top-4 Class 4A CHSAANow.com rankings showdown Sept. 27 at Golden High School.
“I’ve been there (centerfield) for four years now. I’ve played there every game,” Makenzie said after the Demons (17-1, 4-1 in 4A Jeffco League) edged Wheat Ridge 9-8 in an absolute thriller. “I just go out there and play. I’m just throwing the ball.”
No. 4 Wheat Ridge (14-4, 4-2) grabbed an early 2-0 lead with RBI singles by Lee and Izzie Quezada in the top of the second inning, but Makenzie threw out Lee at second base and Izzie at third base to prevent more damage.
The Demons answered offensively scoring six unanswered runs through the bottom of the third to the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead. Makenzie and her twin sister Makayla Middleton both belted 2-run home runs.
Golden also won the two teams’ Sept. 24 game, 8-2.
“It hurts that Golden got us twice,” Wheat Ridge coach Jamie Heflin said. “It’s tough playing against the Middletons because you have to choose what you want to do.”
The Middletons combined to go 4-for-5 from the plate with four RBIs and four runs scored. Sophomore Caitlyn Stevens helped out with a solo home run and senior pitcher Emma Graham helped herself out with an RBI single in the fifth inning.
However, Wheat Ridge responded with a four-run sixth inning to tie the game 6-6. Junior Jalesa Lujan had a huge 2-run double and junior Aliyah Rothstein had an RBI single to tie things up 6-6.
It looked like the Farmers would grab the lead with Lee Quezada ripped an RBI single up the middle, but Makenzie threw out Lujan at the plate to end the inning.
“It’s been the mainstay of what we try to do here,” Herbers said of the Demons’ defense. “Emma struggled a little bit today and she knew it, but this is that situation where she had to rely on her defense. They made plays for her. I love our defense.”
Golden’s offense stepped up again with a 3-run inning thanks to back-to-back doubles by Makayla and senior Molly Hord. A throwing error by the Farmers allowed two runs to score to make it a 9-6 game.
Wheat Ridge sophomore Aaliyah Arellano belted a 2-run home run in the top of the seventh inning, but a line drive by junior Carly Storrer was caught by Makayla to end the game.
“That was insane,” Makenzie said. “We had to make so many good plays. Wheat Ridge hit the ball and we had to make the plays.”
The Demons and Farmers were back in action Saturday. Golden defeated Green Mountain and Wheat Ridge took care of business against Standley Lake.
“Our team isn’t going to respond negatively to this,” Heflin said. “They know they competed and the game could have gone either way. I don’t think we’ll have a letdown at all.”
Herbers believes playing after such an emotional game will be a benefit.
“If they want to go deep this is one of those postseason type of situations,” Herbers said. “You have to play a hard team on Friday, figure out a way to get to bed, re-energize and play again the next morning.”
A third go-around between Golden and Wheat Ridge wouldn’t be surprising.
“Wheat Ridge is a top-5 (4A) team in the state. They’ll be there in the end,” Herbers said. “If we want to make a run we have to beat the best.”
Dennis Pleuss is a media specialist for Jeffco Public Schools with a focus on athletics and activities. For more Jeffco coverage, go online at CHSAANow.com.
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