Big first inning propels Fruita Monument past Grand Junction

If anything, the Fruita Monument High School softball team could have been accused of being a bit too pumped up for Tuesday’s game with Grand Junction.

When catcher Ashleigh Wissel blasted a home run in the bottom of the first inning, that got the Wildcats’ adrenaline flowing even more.

“It pumped me up,” Wissel said of her solo shot over the left-field fence.

The Wildcats calmed themselves down enough to hold on for a 6-3 victory over the Tigers and remain one game behind Central in the Southwestern League standings.

“I think we got a little anxious,” Fruita Monument coach Tracey Burke said after her team got four hits and scored four runs in the first inning.

It took three more innings for the Wildcats (8-5, 4-1 SWL) to get another hit off Grand Junction pitcher Elena Arrieta.

“When Ashleigh hit her home run, they said, ‘Oh, I can do that too,’ ” Burke said. “They can, but they get a little anxious.”

The Tigers (10-5, 1-4) were matching the Wildcats in the hit column — Grand Junction outhit Fruita Monument 9-8 — but couldn’t get the runs across. The Tigers left 12 runners stranded on base, nine in scoring position.

“Even though they got runners on base, our pitchers got them out,” Burke said.

Krystina Pacheco, who got the victory, pitched 41/3 innings, giving up four hits and striking out five.

As has been the norm this season, the Wildcats brought in Erika Chirdon to finish the game. She gave up five hits but got the crucial third out with runners in scoring position in each of the last three innings.

“They’re totally different pitchers, but we practice every day,” Wissel said of making the adjustment each game to catch both pitchers.

“We had the opportunities,” Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said. “We need to finish.”

The Wildcats’ eight hits came from eight different players.

As for the Tigers, “They need to get that swagger back,” Diaz said.


In her first pitching outing in two weeks, Mikayla Duffy gave up only one hit and struck out five as the Warriors won by the 15-run rule in four innings.

Central (12-2, 5-0) pounded out 14 hits, including home runs from Tayler Else and Karen Hayter and three singles by Jessica Romine.

“We’ve got a great 1-through-9 lineup,” Central coach Sabrina Juarez said. “We can play small ball or we can go power.”

Duffy allowed only four base runners, two on errors.

Duffy took a couple of weeks off from pitching because of back spasms.

“It probably helped her a little,” Juarez said.


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