Arvada West became the first Class 5A softball team in Colorado to reach five victories Tuesday.
The Wildcats (5-0 record) managed a 4-0 shutout victory at home over Douglas County — last year’s 5A state runner-up. Senior Mac Ferguson pitched a one-hitter, complete-game gem that included 10 strikeouts.
“Throughout the season I’ve felt pretty confident so far,” said Ferguson, who has only allowed one earned run in 16-and-a-third innings. “I would just give a lot of credit to the defense I’ve got behind me. I have so much trust in them.”
Douglas County sophomore Juliza Ramirez had the lone hit off Ferguson with a double in the second inning. However, A-West turned a 6-3-5 double-play to end the scoring threat.
“Errors are going to happen. Hits are going to happen,” said Ferguson, who has given up only seven hits in her three games pitched. “When you have that awesome defense behind you it gives you a lot of momentum.”
Ferguson, a Colorado State University-commit, eventually faced just one batter over the minimum with freshman Shelby Ford reaching on an error in the fifth inning before being stranded at first base.
“Mac threw a great game and our defense was ready to go whenever the ball was put in play,” A-West coach Brenna Millikan said.
Offensively, senior Zoey Langerak led the way going 3-for-3 from the plate with a trio of RBIs. Langerak’s 2-run single with two outs in the first inning pushed the Wildcats’ lead to 3-0.
“I was just thinking about getting on base,” Langerak said of her approach at the plate. “Obviously we needed those runs. I wanted to keep it going for everyone.”
Langerak stayed perfect at the plate with an RBI single in the sixth inning. She finished with half of the Wildcats’ six hits as Douglas County senior pitcher Caitlin Osoba did a good job keeping the rest of the A-West bats fairly quiet.
“Early in the season we are still trying to work out all the kinks,” Millikan said of the Wildcats’ offensive not being as explosive as it was Aug. 19 with it posted 39 runs in dominating victories against Legacy and Denver North. “We’ll keep focusing on adjustments we need to make.”
Millikan has a wealth of pitching with Ferguson, along with fellow seniors Sofia Finney and Brooklyn Burgess and sophomore Morgan Farr in the mix. All have already logged innings this season.
“All of them are so unique in their own way. We are really lucky in that aspect,’ Millikan said when talking about how she will go about handling the pitching staff. “Whoever we feel is going to be best suited against each opponent.”
A-West keeps its busy early schedule playing four games coming up on Friday and Saturday at the Broomfield Tournament. The Wildcats will actually have 11 games under their belt before Labor Day.
“It will prep us for that big surge coming up in Jeffco (League),” Millikan said.
The Wildcats actually open up conference play against the defending 5A state champion and 5A Jeffco League champions — Columbine. A-West hosts the Rebels on Sept. 13.
“Columbine has always been a challenge for us,” Langerak said. “But I think this year we have the right people to step up to the plate against teams like Columbine.”
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.