LAKEWOOD — Bear Creek junior Joey Vigil crossed home plate and the celebration was on April 27 at Bear Creek High School.
Senior Jessiah Agunaldo laced the game-winning, walk-off RBI single that drove in Vigil in the bottom of the seventh inning to give Bear Creek a huge 5-4 victory over Ralston Valley.
“This is a big win,” Agunaldo said. “We needed this. We needed a win like that.”
Bear Creek (6-9-1, 1-2 in Class 5A Jeffco League) was in danger of falling into a 2-game hole in the league standings, but the win against Ralston Valley (11-6, 1-3) proved just how balanced 5A Jeffco could being during conference play.
“Our philosophy here is wins are made days prior,” Bear Creek coach Robert Mitchell said. “The way that you prepare for those games. The mindset you have in practice. That is the biggest thing we are teaching these guys this year. Show up to practice like it is a game.”
The Mustangs took a 2-0 lead scoring a run in the top of the first and second innings without a hit off Bear Creek ace Sam Coffman. Ralston Valley took advantage of six walks in the first two innings and a throwing error.
However, Coffman settled in and gave up just two hits while striking out 10 in five inning pitched before he went over 100 pitches thrown.
“On the mound he is our horse,” Mitchell said of Coffman. “He is the guy that we rely on. We trust him.”
Bear Creek sophomore Aidan Brand knocked in the Bears first two runs with an RBI single in the bottom of the second inning and sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2.
The Bears extended their lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning with RBI singles by junior Tyler Anderson and senior Tristian Tafoya off Ralston Valley junior Ben Schrag, who took the hill for starter Wyatt Morwood in the sixth inning.
“We didn’t fall over and die. We have had problems with that,’ Agunaldo said. “This year we keep trying and keep going. Today it worked out.”
Ralston Valley responded by tying the game up against in the top of the seventh inning. Junior Laird Jones muscled a 2-run home run over the right field fence to tie things up 4-4.
Sophomore Jamin Patterson was able to limit the damage and end the inning by striking out Ralston Valley junior Jace Cattoor to end the top of the seventh inning. The Mustangs struck out a dozen times in the loss that ended a 6-game winning streak.
Vigil hit a flare to right field that dropped and Patterson walked, putting Vigil in scoring position for Agunaldo.
“My approach is just hit the ball,” Agunaldo said of his game-winning hit. “I was getting down in the count and I swung at a slider that a barely touched. I had to keep fighting. I was able to drive that pitch (outside fastball) to right center.”
Coffman was the first teammate that reached Agunaldo as the Bears celebrated the victory.
“I’m proud of these guys. We are making big, big improvements,” Mitchell said. “I’m proud of this team.”
Ralston Valley suffered a pair of home losses against Chatfield and Valor Christian to finish off playing three games in three days.
Bear Creek lost to Arvada West on April 28, but did grab a pair of victories and a tie at the Fountain-Fort Carson tournament April 29.
Dennis Pleuss is the sports information director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.