Central hopes win over Montrose enough to get them into postseason
The schedule said it was a regular-season game. The Central High School softball team said it was so much more.
The Warriors are treating their final two regular-season games like playoff games in hopes two more wins will get them in the Class 5A playoffs.
Those two games are the only thing they have control over, and they got the first win Tuesday, defeating Montrose 7-3 in the Southwestern League finale for Central.
Now, the Warriors (11-7, 7-3 SWL) have to go to Fairview for their regular-season finale Saturday, where the Warriors figure they need another win. Then, they’ll play the waiting game as many Front Range teams scramble to get in makeup games this week after heavy rains in recent weeks led to a slew of postponements.
Central coach Scott Else said as of Tuesday the Warriors were 31st in the state in 5A, and the top 32 teams make the playoffs. They know they trail Heritage by a half-point, but they have no idea if two wins by Central and three losses by Heritage makes up that half-point. No one knows with any certainty how CHSAA’s point system works, the coach said, and other teams not in the top 32 at the moment could sneak in yet.
The Warriors had hopes of winning the SWL and automatically making the state field until Grand Junction dealt them two losses to mathematically eliminate them for the league chase. So, Central’s players realized what was at stake Tuesday.
“It was a really big win because it can get us to state,” said Central shortstop Tyler Hays, who joined Taryn Smith and Sierra Batchelor in driving the Warriors’ offense against the Indians.
They’re the first three batters in the order, and they combined to get on base 10 times in 12 plate appearances, collecting six of the Warriors’ nine hits and scoring five times.
Leadoff hitter Smith went 2 for 4 and reached base twice on errors as she scored three runs and drove in one. Batchelor was 2 for 4 and reached base once on an error. Hays was 2 for 3 with a walk and doubled in one run.
“The top of my order was amazing,” Else said. “They got on, put pressure on them. ... I was just really impressed with the top three hitters today. They really came through in a big game.”
Else also was impressed by freshman pitcher Melissa Gellermann, who settled down after allowing four hits, two walks and two runs in the first two innings. After Smith threw out a runner at home to end the second inning, Gellermann limited Montrose to one hit, two walks and one run the rest of the way.
“Melissa’s a really good pitcher,” Smith said. “It’s tough to pitch varsity as a freshman. She did a really good job, and I’m proud of her.”
Montrose (13-4) hurt itself with errors, five of them, and left four runners in scoring position in the final five innings.
“We just didn’t play good ball,” Indians coach Joe Bollinger said. “We had a lot of errors, a lot of plays not made.
“We’ve been playing better ball than this. We were flat and didn’t make plays.”