AURORA — Even on the biggest stage, Chatfield’s offensive prowess wouldn’t be denied.

The Chargers won the program’s first Class 5A state softball title since 1997 with a 11-3 victory over Erie on Saturday at Aurora Sports Park. It was the 16th time this season Chatfield had scored double-digit runs.

“It’s incredible. This is such a great group of girls,” Chatfield coach Darin Shepard said. “I said at the beginning of the year this was the best shot we’ve had in a long time. They worked hard all year and we found ourselves in the middle of the season and reeled of 15 (wins) straight to win this thing.”

Chatfield took control with a 7-run bottom of the fourth inning in the championship game against the 12-time state championship Tigers.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

“We were all just trying to build off of each other,” Chatfield junior Lexie Balfanz said of the 7-run fourth inning where she had a double and RBI single as the Chargers set 11 batters to the plate. “We just kept it going and passed the bat to each other. We work best when we are under pressure. It just happened.”

Chatfield had a commanding 7-1 lead and added four more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to push the lead to 11-2.

“(Erie) made a few mistakes and we took advantage of them,” Shepard said of the fourth inning. “These girls smell blood. They just pounded the ball when they needed to and hit the ball hard. We did what we needed to do.”

The No. 2 seed Chargers (23-6 record) had eight straight batters reach base without an out in the fourth inning. No. 4 Erie (23-7) had two costly errors before junior Kendall Holloway ripped a 2-run double to the fence to push the lead to 6-1.

“I had all the confidence in the team. We’ve been stringing it together these last 15 games,” Holloway said. “We all believed in ourselves. I had no doubt from the beginning.”

Chatfield did have a pair of close games during the two-day tournament. The Chargers needed to go extra innings against 5A Jeffco rival Valor Christian in the opening round Friday. Senior Klara Van Beuge had a walk-off RBI single to beat Valor in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The Chargers handled another league rival in Arvada West in the quarterfinals on Friday with a 11-7 victory. Chatfield then rallied to defeat Fossil Ridge in the semifinals Saturday morning with a 3-2 victory, which included a 2-run home run by Balfanz.

“We felt so good and so confident,” Balfanz said of going into the title game after edging Fossil Ridge. “We were ready.”

Pitcher Karlie Cooledge was defintely ready for the Chargers. The senior pitched a complete-game 5-hitter against Erie. She also had a pair of hits, including a 2-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning.

“The minute we lost to Fossil Ridge last year in the first round I went out and put my arm around her. I told her next year would be here year,” Shepard said of his senior pitcher. “I told her before (championship game) that this was her game. I told her she was going to do this for us. What a fantastic game.”

The game ended with a ground-ball out to Holloway at second base and the party began.

“I had no doubt that our team was capable of doing this,” said Cooledge about the Chargers winning state after actually having three straight losses entering 5A Jeffco League play.

The state victory by Chatfield keeps the 5A title in Jeffco. Rival Columbine won the 5A title last season. The challenge now for the Chargers is to repeat.

“I’m super excited for that and I think we can do it again,” Holloway said of defending their title next season. “We have the people to do it. I’m ready for next season.”