ARVADA — Ralston Valley senior Kris Levensteins had himself a day on the baseball diamond March 14.
Levensteins picked up a complete-game victory on the mound and belted a pair of deep home runs in the Mustangs’ 16-1 season-opening victory against Northfield at Nate Jurney Field.
“I was just going up there trying to hit strikes hard,” Levensteins said of his approach at the plate. “I saw myself a good fastball in the zone and a good hanging curveball. I was just trying to hit the ball hard and they went over.”
The senior got the Mustangs (2-0 record) on the board with a 2-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. A 2-run triple by senior Andrew LaPerle later in the inning pushed Ralston Valley’s lead to 4-0 after the first.
Senior Markus Hamre hammered a 2-run home run over right field with two outs in the bottom of the second inning. Levensteins followed that up with a solo home run deep to left field to make the lead 7-0.
“With the weather what we’ve done most is hit,” Ralston Valley coach Brad Madden said of the rough weather since tryouts March 7 has limited teams to inside batting cages last week. “Obviously with our two big boppers — Hamre and Kris — came through big and gave us a spark. Those are our two seniors that have played a ton for us.”
Levensteins was solid on the mound giving up just a single run in the top of the third inning to break-up his shutout bid. The senior finished with seven strikeouts over the three innings.
He did get into a little trouble in the top of the first inning after getting two quick outs, but responded with getting a strikeout of Northfield sophomore Brady Peterson with a pair of runners on base.
“I just found myself overthrowing a little bit,” Levensteins said of the first inning. “I just dialed it in. I knew they couldn’t hit my stuff if I just got it over the plate. Had to just refocus and come down with the adrenaline a little bit.”
Madden was pleased what he got out of Levensteins in his first start.
“It’s great to score 16 runs and cruise through it, but for him to get through a little adversity will pay off in the long run,” Madden said of Levensteins getting out the first first inning. “That was nice to see him buckle down in the first. It was good outing for him.”
Ralston Valley was able to induce the 15-run mercy rule after three innings thanks to a 9-run bottom of the third inning. LaPerle started off the third inning with a solo home run. Hamre drove in his third and fourth runs of the game with a 2-run single.
Senior Ian Baldwin ripped a 2-run single. The Mustangs took advantage of six walks and a hit-by-pitch in the inning, ending the game when senior Ricky Stonerook walked with the bases loaded to driving in Ralston Valley’s 16th run.
“We are excited,” Levensteins said. “Coming out here and getting a win Day 1 is awesome. We’ve got a lot of momentum and keep it going one game at a time.”
Ralston Valley defeated Boulder 16-10 thanks to five home runs by the Mustangs on Tuesday, March 15, before heading to Arizona for the Mustangs’ annual spring break trip.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.