ARVADA — Chatfield softball took the driver’s seat in the race for the Class 5A Jeffco League title Wednesday with a 10-6 road victory over Arvada West, which included an unthinkable 2-out rally.

Chatfield (15-6, 5-0 in 5A Jeffco) can clinch the conference title with a home victory over Ralston Valley (11-8, 3-1) at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 30.

“I really did feel coming into this year that we had the team to win this league,” Chatfield coach Darin Shepard said. “Jeffco is just tough in general, but with everyone we had coming back and having Kendall (Holloway) who was injured all last year coming back to pitch, I felt like we had as good of a chance as anybody.”

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

The last time Chatfield won the 5A Jeffco League was back in 2020. Wins over 2-time defending league champion and current defending 5A state champion Columbine, along with the win over A-West (16-3, 3-1) the conference trophy is within reach.

“We defintely have the confidence. We just can’t let off the gas pedal,” Chatfield senior pitcher Karlie Cooledge said. “We have to stay playing our game. We just have to keep doing us.”

Wednesday was the final road league game of the season for the Chargers. Chatfield hosts Ralston Valley on Saturday and Lakewood on Monday, Oct. 2, to close out its regular season.

The Chargers — No. 5 in the CHSAA Selection & Seeding Index before the huge league game against No. 1 A-West — scored eight runs in the top of the fifth inning. The rally started all with two quick infield pop outs by juniors Ally Dodge and Holloway.

“We have been unbelievable with two outs this year,” Shepard said. “I bet we’ve scored 70 percent of our runs this year with two outs. The girls just battle.”

Junior Ava Burgess started the 2-out rally with a slicing double down the right-field line that was just out of reach of A-West freshman Macie Ferguson. Then the avalanche of RBI hits began. The next eight Chatfield batters all ripped RBI base hits to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 9-3 lead by scoring eight runs all with two outs. The rally included four triples. Senior Klara Van Beuge’s triple tied the game at 3-3. Junior Lexie Balfanz gave the Chargers their first lead with a triple to drive in Van Beuge.

Junior Charlotte Miller added a triple before Dodge and Holloway — who recored the first two outs of the inning — finished off the rally with an RBI single by Dodge and the fourth triple of the inning with Holloway driving home Dodge to push the lead to 9-3.

“We’ve done that year multiple times,” Holloway said of a big inning with two outs. “I have full confidence in everyone in the line-up from top to bottom. We can produce and we all string together hits.”

Doing the majority of the damage against A-West senior ace Mac Ferguson — Colorado State University-commit — was a little shocking. Ferguson seemed to be getting into a great rhythm before she gave up six straight hits and was relieved in the circle by senior Brooklyn Burgess, who gave up three straight hits to the three batters she faced.

“Mac is a great pitcher,” Cooledge said. “I just know no matter what kind of situation our team is in we are going to get out of it. We are going to find away. Even with two outs we aren’t going to give-up on each other.”

Senior Sofia Finney finally recorded the final out of the inning striking out Burgess who had started the rally.

“What is crazy about our team is once we get to the fifth inning our batting average goes way up,” Shepard said. “We hit the ball so well in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. I told the girls before the game that A-West’s game is winning a 3-1 game. Our game is winning a 10-6 game.”

A-West did answer with a 3-run bottom of the fifth inning to cut the lead to 9-6. Mac Ferguson, senior Mo Johnson and junior Jailynn Ausman all drove in runs to give the Wildcats a chance.

However, Holloway relieved Cooledge in the bottom of the sixth inning and recorded the final six outs to get the save. Cooledge admitted she hadn’t been feeling well for the last week, but gutted it out in the big game before giving way to Holloway.

“We work really well together,” Holloway said of the Chargers’ pitching combo of the junior and Cooledge. “I just do what I do. I don’t get very many strikeouts, but I know my defense will work for me. I knew we were going to get out of it.”

A-West will need some help now to win its first league title since 2017. The Wildcats wrap up its regular season with road games at Lakewood (Saturday) and Ralston Valley (Monday) before closing its league season at home against Bear Creek (Wednesday).

Ralston Valley actually controls its own destiny when it comes to getting into the mix for the league title. The Mustangs (11-8, 3-1) have Chatfield, A-West and Columbine remaining on their schedule. Sweeping all three of those games would give Ralston Valley its first league title since 2016.