Note: For more photos from Barry Smith, click here.
Columbine ace Araya Ogden has not officially committed to a college, at least per her recruiting pages.
And if it truly is the open market for the senior sensation, expect a Black Friday-like rush for her services soon.
Ogden is 14-0 on the mound for the Rebels this fall. Her pitching stat line reads a 1.02 ERA over 82 1/3 innings. She’s hitting .583 with four homers and 17 runs driven in.
This past week, she survived a late offensive surge in a 9-7 win over Class 5A No. 9 Arvada West. She proceeded with shutout appearances against Lakewood and Ralston Valley, homering in each.
With the ace dealing (and barreling) late into September, the Rebels’ 16-0 start to the season looks a bit like their 2019 campaign, when they started 14-0 and went on to win their program’s first state title.
It all leads the discourse in our look in on softball. This week, we map the arguable best team in each classification as well as the team we believe is most under the radar.
Ogden threw four shutout innings and went 3 for 3 at the plate with a longball in Wednesday’s 12-0 win over the Mustangs. In other words, more dominance from perhaps 5A’s most dominant player.
As of Thursday morning, Ogden has the best ERA (1.02) among 5A pitchers with at least 65 innings logged. Her batting average (.583), hits (28), doubles (six) and on-base-percentage (.643) all lead her team.
The Rebels will close the month with games at Cherokee Trail (10-4) Monday and No. 7 Valor Christian (13-2) Wednesday.
Under the radar: Erie.
The Tigers (14-3) pushed their win streak to 13 games with a 11-3 win over Brighton Tuesday. They’ve yet to lose to a team from Colorado, yet sit just sixth in the rankings.
If they are being undervalued by the coach’s votes, they may not be for long with upcoming games against No. 5 Horizon (13-3) Saturday and No. 8 Broomfield (12-4) Wednesday.
Through 17 games, ace Gracie Sackett has a 0.65 ERA across 53 2/3 innings and Matix Hull has allowed one earned run in 21 innings. Renee Laczkowski has 24 RBIs and five home runs.
Last week, No. 2 Windsor (15-3) handed No. 1 Lutheran (15-1) its first loss since 2020. With it, the Wizards could be seen as the classification’s current front-runner.
Katie Perkins had three hits, two doubles and four RBIs off Lutheran standout Hailey Maestretti in last Thursday’s 9-6 win. Two days prior, the Wizards got to No. 9 Mead’s ace Joslynn Veltien for three runs in the seventh for a 5-4 victory.
Windsor is at No. 3 defending champ Holy Family (13-4) Tuesday.
Under the radar: Lewis-Palmer.
The Rangers (11-7) aren’t ranked and have lost four of their last five. But the one-two power punch of Grace Lendt and Sage Hazelwood will make them a tough out in the postseason.
Lendt leads 4A in RBIs (40), home runs (seven) and runs (33). Hazelwood is hitting .677, third-best in 4A, and has 35 runs driven in with five homers.
Best: Eaton. By a scooch.
The coaches voted Eaton (8-5) ahead of Strasburg (13-1) in this week’s rankings. The week before brought some perceived separation as the Reds beat Weld Central (9-8) by 16, while the Indians fell 4-3 to the Keenesburg team.
Eaton, No. 9 The Academy (13-2) and No. 10 Thomas Jefferson (12-2) are the 3A teams that haven’t lost to someone inside the classification.
The Reds are led by the bats of Blayke Duncan and Kiauna Smith, who are both hitting above .520 with a combined 33 runs driven in.
Under the radar: The Academy.
The story here is do-it-all junior Isabella Bruntz.
Bruntz leads the team with a batting average above .700 and ERA under 1.40. She has at least an RBI in each of her last six games.
The Wildcats are at Eaton Friday.