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ARVADA — Arvada West’s softball is attempting to go back in time, or at least return to its tremendous success from nearly two decades ago.
“There is a lot to live up to with our reputation,” A-West senior Shea Mauser said after a seventh straight win Tuesday. “It’s a good year to do it. We’ve got a lot of good girls here.”
The Wildcats were the dominant larger-school classification softball program in the state from 1993 to 2000 — winning six state championships. A-West appears to be on the brink of having the opportunity to recapturing that great success.
“Our coach (Brenna Millikan) got new (state championship) banners in our outfield and she purposely left a spot for state this year,” A-West senior Morgan Clausen said. “We are striving for that. Definitely league comes first, then regionals and state.”
A-West’s Shea Mauser puts the bat on the ball Tuesday in a 12-0 win over Chatfield. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)
Millikan, an A-West graduate, was actually a member on the Wildcats’ back-to-back 5A state championship teams in 1999 and 2000. She has asked her seven seniors this season … How do you want to go out? What is the legacy you want to leave behind?
“We definitely have goals in mind this year,” Millikan said. “I think they are taking steps in the right direction.”
A-West (12-3 record) moved up to No. 2 in the CHSAANow.com Class 5A rankings this week. The Wildcats improved to 3-0 in the 5A Jeffco League on Tuesday afternoon with a 12-0 victory against Chatfield.
The game was moved from Chatfield to A-West because of wet field conditions on the Chargers’ home field. The Wildcats took advantage playing in their home park with Mauser tossing her third no-hitter of the season and the Wildcats pounding out a dozen runs in the 5-inning game.
“Her (Mauser’s) goal today was to attack the hitters,” Millikan said. “I think she set them up well and got the out pitches when we needed her to.”
Mauser walked just two Charger batters while striking out 10 to get the win on the mound. She also did damage at the plate going 3-for-3, including an inside-the-park home run in the fourth inning.
“We’ve been hitting well, really all season,” said Clausen who legged out a triple ahead of Mauser’s 2-run home run. “It’s nice being my senior year that it’s all starting to come along. It’s all starting to click.”
Chatfield’s Ali Van Gulick, left, is just nipped at first base. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)
A league title is clearly in the Wildcats’ sights with the conference season coming to a quick close. Next week will determine if A-West can win a league title. The Wildcats have road games against No. 8 Columbine (4:30 p.m. Oct. 2) and Pomona (4:30 p.m. Oct. 4) before closing out their regular season against Dakota Ridge.
“Next week is a big week. It’s not going to be an easy week for us at all,” Millikan said. “We’ve got to finish out strong in Jeffco. We are going to be prepared for Columbine, Pomona and Dakota Ridge.”
A-West had a solid 2016 campaign, grabbing the No. 7 overall seed for regionals last season, but suffered back-to-back upset losses to Mountain Range and Grandview to prevent the Wildcats from qualifying for the 16-team state tournament.
“We talked about it at the beginning of the year,” Mauser said about the disappointing exit from regionals last year. “We talked about how we were going to use it to fuel ourselves this year.”
Chatfield has had signs of improvement with its young group of players led by first-year coach Jen Lazzeri. The Chargers (8-8, 1-3) have Ralston Valley, Bear Creek and Dakota Ridge remaining on their league schedule.
“It’s exciting that we are in a great league. There aren’t any gimme games in this league, which is great,” Lazzeri said. “This shows we’ve got a lot of work to do. We are young, but that’s not an excuse for us.”
The Chargers have just two seniors and the first three batters in Chatfield’s line-up Tuesday were freshmen. Lazzeri admitted she was disappointed with Chatfield getting no-hit by Mauser.
“We’ve been practicing hitting primarily the last two days,” Lazzeri said. “She (Mauser) was very, very impressive. A-West is going to do well.”
Chatfield sat in the No. 26 spot in the softball RPI rankings before Tuesday’s loss to A-West. There will be 14 automatic qualifiers for the postseason and the RPI rankings fills out the rest of the 32-team field for regionals that are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 14.
A-West senior Shea Mauser tossed her third no-hitter of the season in a 12-0 victory over Chatfield on Tuesday. (Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Athletics)
Full article on the CHSAA website: