ARVADA — Ralston Valley senior Markus Hamre is swinging a big hammer this season.
Hamre belted his 10th home run of the season and finished off a 14-4 victory for the Mustangs on April 21 at Nate Jurney Field. His sacrifice fly RBI induced the 10-run mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“I probably haven’t been in this kind of zone for this extended amount of time,” Hamre said of his 5-game home run hitting streak. “I’m just trying to stay in it. Stay calm, cool and collected.”
Hamre has 32 RBIs on the season, including knocking in a run in each of the past six games. He belted a pair of home runs and drove in six runs earlier this week when Ralston Valley rallied from a 11-5 deficit to pull out a 12-11 win.
“What (Hamre) does best is hitting the ball to all fields,” Ralston Valley coach Brad Madden said of his big lefty bat. “That is what makes him so dangerous. It’s hard to pitch to him because he can hit it to any part of the park. He is our guy. He is our horse and we’re going to ride him.”
A-West (11-5, 2-1 in 5A Jeffco) actually grabbed an earlier 2-0 lead off a solo home run by senior Zachary Quimby in the first inning and an RBI by senior Mason Hagel-Pitt when he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Ralston Valley senior pitcher Kris Levensteins had a bit of a strange pitching line in his complete-game victory. He gave up four runs on four hits while only walking one. However he also hit five batters while striking out seven.
“He (Levensteins) gets the job done and he competes,” Madden said. “When he just pitches he is pretty darn good.”
A-West freshman Tate Deal belted a 2-run home run in the top of the fourth inning to cut Ralston Valley’s lead to 6-4, but it was all Mustangs after that. Junior Diano Benallo ripped a 2-run single in the bottom of the fifth inning to extend the lead to 8-4.
Ralston Valley had eight different players drive in runs and finished off the game in style with a 6-run bottom of the sixth inning.
“We’ve left a few games where we’ve been at the six or seven runs and said that wasn’t enough,” Madden said. “Today we finally made sure it was enough. It was good for us to keep on building on the lead.”
Senior Andrew LaPerle did something that Madden — three-time state championship coach at Golden and Green Mountain — has never seen. LaPerle went 4-for-4 with four doubles.
“As a team during BP (batting practice) we were all swinging it really well,” LaPerle said. “During BP we took care of business. Then we came out here and did the same thing.”
Lakewood (11-4, 2-0) stands at the top of the 5A Jeffco League standings after the first week into conference play. The Mustangs (9-6, 2-1) dropped behind the Tigers and into a 4-way tie for second place in league after a 7-0 road loss to Dakota Ridge.
For the first time in a very long time, there is not a single 5A Jeffco team in the top-10 of the CHSAANow.com5A baseball poll last week. Valor just dropped out of the rankings this week after a 4-game losing streak and the skid reached five games with an opening conference loss to Lakewood.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.