Shadow Ridge shortstop making up for lost time

Shadow Ridge has played most of the season without shortstop Chris Opolka, who was out with a knee injury.

The senior made his presence felt on Monday.

Opolka was 3-for-3 with a triple, and his RBI single in the bottom of the fifth broke a 7-7 tie as the Mustangs outslugged visiting Arbor View, 15-11.

“It was nice to get him back,” Shadow Ridge coach Frank Tousa said. “He’s been back about a week. He’s helped us on the mound, in the field and at the plate.”

With the game tied 7-7, Quinn Ayers led off the bottom of the fifth with a single up the middle. Pinch hitter Jacob Johnson put down a two-strike sacrifice to move Ayers to second, and Opolka lined a single to right to give the Mustangs (17-11, 11-5 Division I Sunset League) the lead.

The Mustangs scored two more runs in the inning on RBI singles by Eric Jordan and Kyle Gaura, then plated five runs in the sixth, highlighted by a two-run triple by pinch hitter Bryan Trujillo.

“Our kids just grinded with their (at-bats),” Tousa said. “Trujillo had that pinch-hit triple that kind of opened the door for us. They hung with their approaches at the plate.”

Ayers went 3-for-4 with a double, three runs and an RBI, and Jordan, Gaura and Trevin Reynolds each added two hits for the Mustangs.

Opolka, who is 7-for-13 since returning from the inury, also made his presence felt in the field. He ranged far to his left to snag a grounder by Ryan McHale and was able to spin and fire to first for the out leading off the sixth inning.

Opolka’s outing on the mound wasn’t as smooth. He pitched the seventh, allowing three runs on four hits. But Tousa was just happy to have Opolka back in the mix on his pitching staff. Senior left-hander Jake Wilson made his second start of the seaosn Monday as he’s recovered from shoulder inflammation. Opolka and Wilson give the team even more pitching options as it prepares for next week’s Sunset Region tournament.

“It’s nice to get some arms back and get healthy,” Tousa said.

Brandon Stevens was 3-for-5 with a homer, three runs and three RBIs to lead Arbor View (15-13, 9-8). Jayce Gardner went 3-for-4 with a double and three runs, and Joe Fitzhugh was 3-for-4 with a double, two runs and an RBI.

Contact prep sports editor Damon Seiters at 702-380-4587 or Follow him on Twitter: @DamonSeiters