Montrose no-hit at 4A state tourney
AURORA — The Montrose softball team figured it had a certain level of karma on its side.
Once again, the Indians were facing an uphill battle as the underdog in a first-round match against Pueblo South at the Class 4A state tournament. Montrose was in a similar predicament last year, yet the Indians nearly orchestrated an upset before ultimately bowing out with a 1-0 defeat.
It was the sort of game that could have turned on any play at any moment, and the near-miss instilled a level of confidence in the 14th-seeded Indians as they prepared for Friday’s first-round rematch against the third-seeded Colts at the Aurora Sports Complex.
However, an entire year apparently has done little to provide Montrose (16-7) the answers to Pueblo South standout pitcher Lexi Martindale. Martindale completely throttled the Indians, recording a no-hitter while leading Pueblo South to a 4-0 victory.
“We just had one of those games where we couldn’t hit the ball,” Montrose head coach Joe Bollinger said. “When you have those games, you can’t win. We played good defense. We had good pitching. We just didn’t have the hitting. They were pressing. Everyone was just trying to hit the ball and not taking as good a swings as we usually do.”
Martindale issued only one walk — to the Indians’ No. 9 hitter, Erin Hinshaw in the third inning. That was the only blemish on what otherwise was a perfect game for Martindale. Montrose never really threatened to break into the hit column, as a shot up the middle by Caitlin Warner in the second inning was perhaps the closest the Indians came to breaking through. Warner’s shot deflected off Martindale directly to a Pueblo South infielder, and Warner was thrown out at first.
Martindale recorded eight strikeouts, continuing her dominance of the Indians that began last season. In two state playoff games against Montrose, Martindale has a pair of shutouts with 19 strikeouts in 14 innings.
“I didn’t feel like (Martindale) was doing anything special. We just weren’t watching the ball, and we didn’t have our bats today,” said Montrose senior Lara Ammermann, who was a tough-luck loser in the pitcher’s circle for the Indians. “If it would have been a different day, maybe we would have. I couldn’t even figure out what we were doing wrong. She wasn’t a fast pitcher, and she didn’t have much movement, so it was tough to not know why we weren’t hitting the ball.”
Ammermann fell behind early, allowing consecutive first-inning doubles to Kiki London and Martindale as the Colts jumped to a 2-0 lead. Ammermann settled down from there, allowing single runs in the second and fifth innings before finishing the game with a pair of strikeouts.
Yet with the Indians having left their offense on the Western Slope, four runs proved to be too much to overcome.
“(Ammermann) did a great job, but she’s been doing that all year,” Bollinger said. “We’re going to miss her next year. It was a very good season. I’m proud of the girls and the effort they put in. We fell a little bit short of our goal, but we sure gave it a run.”