LITTLETON — In the bottom of the first inning with two strikes — runners at first and second — Columbine senior Emma Todd did her job at the plate … and a little extra. “The mentality …
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LITTLETON — In the bottom of the first inning with two strikes — runners at first and second — Columbine senior Emma Todd did her job at the plate … and a little extra.
“The mentality we’ve always been taught here is just base hit. We don’t need a hero,” Todd said. “My biggest thing was just get the bat on the ball.”
While hitting the ball to the right side to advance the runners into scoring position would be a success, Todd did a little more ripping a line-drive home run over the right field fence to give the No. 5-ranked Rebels a quick 3-0 lead over rival Chatfield on Sept. 25 at Dave Sanders Field.
Columbine (13-3, 2-0 in Class 5A Jeffco League) led from start to finish with a 12-5 victory to stay atop the conference standings.
“She (Todd) is just so mentally tough,” Columbine coach Jim Santaniello said. “We work in the cages all the time hitting the ball to the right side. As a senior she is just an amazing leader. She understands her approach every at-bat.”
Todd’s 24th career home run and sixth on the season was a little more special being against the Rebels’ rivals and defending conference champs.
“It was the best feeling ever,” Todd said of her “I’ve never hit one (home run) against Chatfield so it was super cool.”
Columbine kept it rolling offensively in the second inning sending nine batters to the plate in a 5-run second. Seniors Maddy McLean, Shay Cummings and Todd all had hits in the inning where the Rebels also took advantage of three Chatfield errors in the field to take a commanding 8-0 lead.
Chatfield was short-handed in the circle with junior Brooklyn Levin not being able to pitch. However, sophomore Karlie Cooledge did a great job in relief not allowing Columbine to extend its lead.
“If we can get everyone healthy at the same time that would be awesome,” Chatfield coach Jen Lazzeri said. “We have the opportunity the next couple of weeks to let people heal and get better.”
The Chargers (11-6, 0-2) did get better in the middle innings. Chatfield scored a run in the third and fifth inning before closing the gap to 8-5 thanks to a bases-loaded 3-run double by freshman Lexi Balfanz in the top of the sixth inning.
Chatfield has had some impressive come-from-behind victories this season already, but the Rebels squelched their comeback hopes with a 4-run bottom of the sixth inning.
“We got off to a huge start. Then we kind of slowed down,” Santaniello said of the Rebels not scoring in the third through fifth innings. “I thought it showed a lot of character from my girls late getting some insurance runs. In this league, if you don’t score double-digit runs you are going to be in trouble.”
Junior Araya Ogden picked up the victory on the mound for Columbine. Ogden also helped herself out with an RBI single in the sixth inning. Chatfield senior Dakota DiPaola grounded out to Todd at third base for the final out of the game.
“This is the game that I’m sure our girls had circled,” Santaniello said. “We love Chatfield’s coaching staff over there. It’s always a super fun day to play great competition like that and come out ahead.”
Columbine takes its 6-game winning streak to Dakota Ridge on Monday for another conference showdown against a cross-town rival.
“League is definitely a goal and we are climbing a mountain to try to get to state as well,” Todd said of the Rebels being two years removed from winning the 5A state title back in 2019. “We have to take it day-by-day. We can’t overlook anybody. Dakota Ridge is next and that is what we’ll be ready for.”
It was the first time all season that Chatfield has lost back-to-back games and find themselves behind the eight ball to repeat as conference champs after getting off to a 0-2 start in league play. However, Lazzeri is still confident in her squad.
“I know we are a good team,” Lazzeri said. “I know we can make a run in the playoffs.”
Chatfield hits the road to face Pomona on Monday, Sept. 27.
Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.
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