Bulldogs rebound, advance to state
The Palisade High School softball team didn’t really care where it was seeded in the Class 4A playoffs.
The Bulldogs showed that as they entered Saturday’s Region 4 tournament at Garden Acres Park in Longmont as the No. 29 seed, but defeated two higher-seeded teams to earn a berth in the Sweet 16 in the Class 4A state tournament.
“Everyone wrote us off and we showed how much heart the kids have,” Palisade coach John Vanlandingham said. “The kids are excited to move on.”
Palisade lost its first game of the day to No. 4 Niwot 8-0, but bounced back, outlasting Thomas Jefferson 10-8 in eight innings.
The Bulldogs needed to defeat Silver Creek to earn the second qualifying spot. Palisade struck first, leading 3-0 before Silver Creek scored four runs in the fourth inning. The score remained 4-3 until Palisade added three runs in the top of the ninth inning to take the 6-4 lead needed for the win.
“The girls showed they don’t quit,” Vanlandingham said. “From here on out we are going to see good pitching.”
Palisade advances to the round of 16 for the first time since 2000.
Palisade swept Rifle to retain its position in the top half of the Western Slope League standings.
The Bulldogs (11-5, 8-3 WSL) defeated the Bears 25-5, 25-16, 25-13 at Palisade.
It was a balanced offensive effort for Palisade, with Audrey Steinkirchner recording 16 kills, Morgan Reynolds 10 and Chelsea Wells eight. Reynolds and Steinkirchner were also strong defensively with two blocks apiece.
Fruita Monument had to go five games to defeat Montezuma-Cortez 25-21, 24-26, 25-20, 20-25, 15-11 in Fruita.
It was the Wildcats’ fourth five-game match this season.
Camille Kovach’s 13 kills and Sarah Hensley’s 12 paced the offensive effort for Fruita Monument (8-9, 3-6 Southwestern League). Kovach also had three blocks and 26 digs; Hensley had 27 digs.
At Grand Junction, the Tigers (7-11, 1-8) fell to Durango 25-20, 16-25, 25-21, 25-22.
Grand Junction came close in the third and fourth games but the Demons pulled away down the stretch in each.
Jamie Derrieux led Grand Junction with 10 kills and added three aces. Jordan Doughty had nine kills and 16 digs.
Durango scored a goal in each half to defeat Fruita Monument 2-0 at Canyon View Park.
Fruita Monument (1-11-1, 0-8-1 SWL) played a strong defensive game, allowing only five shots against keeper Trevor Allen.
The Wildcats wrap up their season Thursday against Central at Walker Field.
At Long Family Memorial Park, Central got goals from Mario Matias and Jeff Krizman and held off Montezuma-Cortez 2-1. Matias scored off a pass from Stevie Palma in the 28th minute.
Krizman staked the Warriors (3-11, 2-7) to a two-goal lead with a 45-yard shot in the upper-left corner with three minutes remaining. Montezuma-Cortez scored with one minute left.
Conor Beach had 10 saves in goal for Central.