LITTLETON — Facing three games over the span of three days, Dakota Ridge sophomore Matt Larmore knew his job Thursday when he took the mound.

“We are just trying to save our pitching with playing two more games back-to-back right after today,” Larmore said. “I just wanted to work as much as a could and go as long as I could.”

Larmore went the distance on the hill in a 7-1 home victory over Vista Ridge. The sophomore threw seven innings, giving up just four hits while striking out eight.

“We needed that to save our bullpen,” Dakota Ridge coach Jeff Legault said with the Eagles heading to Fort Collins to face the Lamkins on Friday and then Rocky Mountain on Saturday. “He (Larmore) is a battler. He got his experience last year as a freshman. He did what he needed to do today against a good, undefeated team.”

Vista Ridge (4-1 record) had its lone run come in the top of the third inning with an RBI double by senior Elijah Flores. After the only extra-base hit for the Wolves, Larmore held Vista Ridge to one hit over the final four innings.

Photo by Dennis Pleuss/Jeffco Public Schools

“I felt really good. Probably the best I’ve felt yet,” Larmore said after walking just one batter and retiring the Wolves in order over the final three innings. “I’ve dealt with some minor injuries, but I feel great right now.”

Dakota Ridge (3-4) graduated four pitchers that each logged at least 20-plus innings each last season. Larmore is the only returning pitcher to throw double-digit innings last year.

“I still remember my first freshman game. I was scared to death,” said Larmore, who threw just over 22 innings last season with a 4.07 ERA. “Now, I feel like I can be a leader out there and set the tone.”

Offensively, the top of the order set the tone for the Eagles. Seniors Cole Ehlinger, Cade Collins and Carson Sauter combined for five hits and scored five runs.

“The top of the line-up has to produce for us for sure,” Collins said. “When the top three get going, we are pretty good.”

Dakota Ridge did take advantage of a handful of defensive errors by Vista Ridge.

“We actually worked in practice yesterday on taking advantage of other team’s mistakes,” Legault said after the Eagles capitalized on the Wolves’ five errors. “Then when we make mistakes to shut it down. That was our Achilles heel in Arizona. We would make an error and give up four runs.”

The Eagles scored a pair of runs in the first and third innings to open up a 4-1 lead. Senior Jake Marquez had a single and scored in the fourth inning to add another run. Dakota Ridge took advantage of a pair of Vista Ridge errors in the sixth inning to grab two more insurance runs.

“We were just finding holes and doing whatever we can,” said Collins, who scored three times. “We forced them to make plays and got lucky a few times.”

For the second straight year, Legault has double-digit seniors. A lot of this year’s seniors don’t have a ton of varsity experience, but Legault sees that as a plus.

“That is what makes it so fun,” Legault said of his 13 seniors. “They are so fun at practice and enjoying the experience. It is hard to get everyone in with 19 guys, but this group of seniors is so fun. They have waited for two years to have their chance. They are working hard and doing great.”