Eagles, Falcons qualify for state

Posted 10/14/08

Despite cold and dreary conditions, two local softball teams are flying into the 5A state tournament. Both the Golden Eagles of Mountain Vista and …

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Eagles, Falcons qualify for state


Despite cold and dreary conditions, two local softball teams are flying into the 5A state tournament.

Both the Golden Eagles of Mountain Vista and the Falcons of Highlands Ranch qualified for the championship bracket during regional play Oct. 11. Mountain Vista won the Region 4 tournament, while Highlands Ranch advanced from Region 3 as the runner-up.

Playoff seeding was to be announced Oct. 14. Log on to www.highlandsranchherald.com for more information.

As for regional play, the Eagles won both games at the Barnes Complex in Loveland by identical 5-1 scores. Vista downed Poudre (10-9) in the morning’s preliminary round and then dispatched of Cherokee Trail (12-7) that afternoon to win the region.

The Eagles scored all the runs they would need in the second inning versus Poudre as Randi Applehans doubled to score Anne Fox before coming home herself on a single by Lauren Dalton. Cedar Blazek blasted a home run in the third inning and Hannah Antista singled home Brooke Healey in the sixth. Dalton finished the scoring when she stole home, also in the sixth inning.

Healey was 2-for-3 in the contest while Antista finished 2-for-4. Kelly Unkrich earned the win, pitching seven innings and allowing five hits with no walks. She struck out six.

In the day’s second game, Vista did its damage in the third and fifth innings. Blazek had a single to score Dalton in the third inning with a passed ball allowing Antista to score providing the eventual winning run. The Eagles pushed home three more runs in the fifth, with RBI singles from Kam Smallwood and Fox, and an RBI double by Marina Long.

Fox was 2-for-2 on the day while Unkrich again earned the win, working all seven innings with just two hits and two walks allowed and fanning 14 Cherokee Trail batters.

“Given the conditions it was a little tough to stay totally motivated, but the kids did a good job of it,” head coach Brett Grammerstorf said. “We got good pitching and timely hitting in both games, and we made the majority of plays. That’s how you win. Now we have some confidence going into the weekend.”

The road was a little longer for Highlands Ranch in its quest to qualify for states at Garden Acres in Longmont. After beating Eaglecrest (11-7) in the morning, 13-3, the Falcons fell to Ralston Valley (11-8) by a score of 6-2 in the region championship game. This put Ranch into a rematch with Eaglecrest, and again the Falcons dominated, winning 15-5 to punch their ticket to states.

It was an offensive day for the Falcons, who recorded 35 hits in the three games. Katie Rutherford had six hits on the day and drove in eight, including a three-run home run in the second game against Eaglecrest. Leia Swierczerwski banged out seven hits with five RBI and five runs scored, including a two-run home run to account for all the scoring versus Ralston Valley, while Kamee Vessey also drove in five runs. Vessey blasted home runs in both games against Eaglecrest.

Tahnea Leeling was another catalyst with five hits and four RBI on the day, including a home run in the first meeting with Eaglecrest. And don’t forget Danielle Williams, who was 3-for-3 in the first game with a two-run double and drove in four runs for the day.

Kaitlin York pitched all three games for Ranch, working a total of 17 innings. She allowed three hits and two walks with nine strikeouts in the first game, but struggled in the rematch with Eaglecrest, allowing 10 hits. York allowed 11 hits to Ralston Valley, but did not walk a batter in either of the last two games.

“We accomplished the goal we set out to, which was to qualify for the state tournament,” head coach Jeff Markle said. “To stay up there and play three games in pretty tough weather, I’m so proud of how the girls were able to fight through, especially after losing the second game.”

“This has been a good character team all season,” Markle said, “ and they knew their season was on the line.”


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