Hoppe’s defensive plays help Central win first Peach Fuzz game

You can take hundreds of ground balls, catch hundreds of fly balls.

Nothing can prepare a shortstop for everything, though — sometimes you just have to sell out and hope for the best.

“Some games you don’t get a ball hit to you, some days you get all the luck in the world,” Central shortstop Brittany Hoppe said after a couple of defensive gems helped the Warriors knock off Prairie View 7-3 on the first day of the Peach Fuzz Classic at Kronkright Softball Complex. “Today was my day.”

After she laced a two-run double down the third-base line in the fourth inning to give Central a 6-1 lead, Hoppe made two outstanding plays in the top of the fifth.

With the bases loaded and no outs, Linsey Killen hit a fly ball behind third base that looked as if it would drop in for a base hit.

Hoppe, who was shaded toward second, took the right angle and made the catch to keep the bases loaded.

“It got a lot of air on it,” she said. “If I hadn’t gotten it, I knew Taylor (Hice, Central’s left fielder) was right behind me.”

Karissa Cardenas then popped a pitch behind Central pitcher Laurel Rafferty, but there was Hoppe again.

She made a diving catch behind the pitching circle, landing just behind Rafferty. She quickly got to her knees and doubled the runner off third to end the inning.

“Well ... I pulled that one out,” Hoppe said, breaking into laughter. “That’s all I can say about that one. It’s one of those you don’t practice for. I’ll just sprawl out, let me look like I do something.”

Those plays can lift a team, especially a young squad like Central.

“In softball, if you lay out, it picks up the other girls,” Hoppe said. “If no one would have laid out, the team morale would have gotten down. As long as someone’s trying hard, someone else will try hard. It’s just a chain reaction.”

Central had a couple of chain-reaction innings, scoring four runs on five hits in the second inning. Jordan Eller hit a one-out double to get it started, and Kiana Garcia, Rafferty, Breanna Garcia and Hice all followed with base hits.

Hoppe’s defense was just what Central coach Scott Else has asked of his senior four-year starter.

“No outs, bases loaded and she makes a deep play in the hole and then turns a double play like that,” he said. “That’s gonna help us win those tight games. I wouldn’t have anyone else out there.”

The Warriors added one more in the sixth inning and had the bases loaded with two out when the game ended because of the tournament’s 90-minute time limit.

Fruita Monument 12, Thompson Valley 0: Mallory Paulson struck out 11 batters and hit a home run in the Wildcats’ rout. Mariah O’Dell went 2 for 3 and drove in three runs.

Grand Junction 5, Palisade 0: The Tigers’ Rachel Jahnke threw a one-hit shutout, striking out nine, and Cierra Cosslett tripled twice. Grand Junction broke open a scoreless game with four runs in the fourth inning.

Durango 7, Cortez 6 (8): The two Four Corners teams drove to Grand Junction to play each other in the first day of the tournament. The Demons scored on a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning.


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