Vista Ridge-Air Academy softball

Vista Ridge’s Nicole Garcia (6) scores on an Air Academy error as the Wolves won 10-0 Wednesday, September 11, 2019. (Jeff Kearney, Special to The Gazette)

There wasn't a really big secret to what propelled Vista Ridge's softball team to a win Wednesday afternoon.

"It starts with Kendra in the circle," Wolves coach Gabriel Gonzales said.

He's referring to senior Kendra Miller, who struck out eight batters and ended the game in the fifth inning with an RBI triple. The Wolves won 10-0 at home over Air Academy in the Class 5A/4A Pikes Peak League opener.

Miller also had an RBI double for Vista Ridge (4-7, 1-0), which has won two of its last three games.

Air Academy (6-4, 0-1) snapped a three-game winning streak.

The Wolves started their onslaught in the first inning, when they scored two runs on three hits and one error. That was followed by a six-run second inning, highlighted by Alisha Salazar's two-RBI single and Miller's RBI double to give Vista Ridge a comfortable 8-0 lead.

The early game runs helped the Vista Ridge pitcher.

"I think that helped a lot because I'm more comfortable in the circle," said Miller, who struck out three batters in the bottom of the second inning. "Once we came out strong, we just carried that momentum throughout the game."

Katey Kelly finished with three doubles and three runs scored for Vista Ridge.

The Wolves wrapped up the game in the fifth, when three of their top hitters — Kelly, Miller and Midori Williams — all smacked extra-base hits. Miller, of course, capped off the rally with a game-ending triple.

"I just thought we needed one more run to end the game, and I knew it'd get us home," Miller said. "That's what I tried to do."

Gonzales, the Vista Ridge coach, was happy with the effort, especially because he believed it's helping the team grow. Last year, the Wolves won the league title with a senior-heavy roster.

"You shut them down and take out all the air in their balloon," he said. "With (Miller) in the circle and having them (Kelly, Miller and Williams) lead in the batter's box, it was awesome."

Air Academy had a standout performance by sophomore Brina Baysinger, who came on in the third inning and struck out three batters before the Wolves scored their two final runs.


Chhun Sun is a sports reporter with an emphasis in preps. He joined The Gazette in April 2015 and covered public safety for three years before joining @gazettepreps staff. The Thailand-born Cambodian-American has been in journalism for nearly two decades.