Second chance: Central out for revenge against Fruita Monument

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—In the top of the first inning, Fruita Monument’s Nika Schminke scores as Central catcher Brittany Hoppe waits for the throw during Sept. 22’s game at Bergman Field.



This is a game the Central High School softball team has had circled on its calendar since about Sept. 22.

On that date, the Warriors lost to Fruita Monument 2-1. It’s their only loss of the season, and was their first SWL loss since 2007.

“They played a great game last time, and held us to one run,” Central coach Scott Else said. “We have been a pretty high-scoring team, so I think we are excited to get another chance to see what we can do.”

Central (13-1, 4-1, Southwestern League) gets that chance tonight against Fruita Monument (16-1, 8-0 SWL) at 7 p.m. at Bergman Field. The winner of the game will be in driver’s seat for the SWL title, as well as hosting a Class 5A regional playoff.

“We want it pretty bad,” Central shortstop Tayler Else said. “We have wanted it since we lost that night.”

In the first meeting, Fruita was able to do something to Central no team has done all season. The Wildcats held Central to one run, and handed Warriors’ pitcher Mikayla Duffy her only loss of the season.

“Fruita played a good game and was solid on defense,” Scott Else said. “I think we were disappointed that we couldn’t push more runs across.”

The pitching of Fruita’s Erika Chirdon handcuffed the Warriors. The junior got out of every tough situation she found herself in, forcing the Warriors to strand 10 runners on base.

“(Chirdon) throws a lot of outside pitches, so we’ve been working on that,” Tayler Else said. “We have been working on a lot of different things that she might do, and we’ll be ready for whatever she throws at us.”

Central will be the visitor in tonight’s game, which Else sees as a positive. The first time around Central fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, which gave Fruita a lot of momentum.

“This time we are visitors, so we are hoping to get on the board first and see how they respond,” Scott Else said

Central will be the visitor in tonight’s game which Else sees as a positive. The first time around Central fell behind 1-0 in the top of the first inning, which gave Fruita a lot of momentum.

“This time we are visitors, so we are hoping to get on the board first and see how they respond,” Scott Else said.

After the loss, Central responded winning its next two games against Montrose and Grand Junction a combined 16-1. Despite the loss, Central has maintained its No. 2 state ranking by MaxPreps.com.The Warriors are led by Duffy, who’s hitting .689 with an astonishing 40 RBI. Catcher Danielle Romine is batting .619 and Else is at .556 with 25 runs scored.

“We have a good hitting team,” Tayler Else said. “We have been putting it in play, but that night we didn’t hit well.”

So while Central bounced back from the loss, Fruita Monument hasn’t slowed down. The Wildcats rattled off six straight wins since defeating the Warriors. During that time, Fruita has defeated their opponents 70-5. Heading into tonight’s game, Fruita Monument coach Jamie Dunn said the Wildcats aren’t downplaying the importance of the rivalry.

“Its a big week, and we aren’t going to talk about it like its any bigger, but everyone knows that it is.” Dunn said. “So everything we do right now is preparing us for postseason and that’s where we are at second half of our season. Everything we do has to prepare us.”

The Wildcats have been propelled by a strong offensive lineup led by Taylor Johnson, who is hitting .415, and Ashleigh Wissel, who’s batting .407 with 18 RBI.

“I’m proud of the way we have hit the ball,” Dunn said. “They have come out and taken care of business.”

The Warriors are led by Duffy, who’s hitting .689 with an astonishing 40 RBI. Catcher Danielle Romine is batting .619 and Else is at .556 with 25 runs scored.

“We have a good hitting team,” Tayler Else said. “We have been putting it in play, but that night we didn’t hit well.”

The Warriors have been just as good defensively limiting their opponents to a combined 30 runs this season which averages out to a little more than two runs a game. Duffy’s play on the mound has been a big factor to the Warriors success as she has a 0.89 earned run average, and has struck out 55 batters this season. Alexis Walters has given Central a reliable No. 2 pitcher with a 3-0 record and a 2.19 ERA.  Helping the pitching has been a solid line of defenders behind her led by Else as shortstop, and Whitney Stone in centerfield.

“We feel if we can hold anyone to two runs we can win,” Scott Else said. “We feel like we’ve let one get away.”

Fruita finishes up the SWL season Friday at Montrose and Central plays at Durango and Montezuma-Cortez.


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