Central has early exit in softball at state

MATT MATHEWES/Special to The Daily Sentinel
CENTRAL’S MIKAYLA DUFFY tosses the ball to first to record an out.



AURORA — A season replete with highlights, gaudy statistics and groundbreaking accomplishments for the Central High School softball team ended with a thud Friday.

The Warriors were silenced by Ralston Valley pitcher Meaghan Murphy in the first round of the Class 5A state softball tournament — not to mention the Mustangs’ bats — in a 6-0 season-ending loss on a pristine fall day at All-Star Park

“They were a great team,” Central coach Sabrina Juarez said. “Their pitcher threw well, they were on, and we couldn’t manufacture any runs. It just wasn’t working for us.”

If it’s of any condolence to Central, Ralston Valley moved on to thump top-seeded Rocky Mountain 9-1 and earn a spot in today’s semifinals. If anything, that proved the Mustangs were a tough draw as a No. 8 seed of 16 teams (Central was ninth).

“They didn’t make mistakes,” Central pitcher Mikayla Duffy said. “It wasn’t like we didn’t give it our all.”

Duffy, a sophomore, was brilliant in relief, pitching 41/3 hitless innings. By then, though, the damage was done as the Mustangs erupted for all six of their runs in the first two innings.

A two-run double by Caitlin Jagodzinski and solo home run by Mary Towner finished Warriors starter Ashley Goletz. But the way Murphy was going, Central (19-4) could have given up one run and still decidedly have been on the short end. The Warriors managed only three hits, a single and double by third baseman Rachel Romine and a single by Goletz.

When remembering the 2008 campaign, however, the Warriors won’t let Friday’s performance define it.

“I can’t ever remember a softball team at Central doing so well,” said Juarez, who finished her fourth season with the Warriors. “I couldn’t be prouder of these kids. We came out and we played hard, it just wasn’t our day.”

One reason for hope in the future is Duffy, who established herself as the probable ace for the next two seasons.

“It was a good step for me,” Duffy said.

“We’ll have some holes to fill since we’re losing four seniors, but we’ll be OK. We had a huge season. I’ll always remember this year. Our seniors were great.” 

CLASS 4A

Having already exceeded expectations for the season, the Delta Panthers exited the Class 4A state softball tournament with a lesson learned and hungry eyes on 2009.

The Panthers ran into a buzzsaw in top-seeded Wheat Ridge and its ace, Stephanie Routzon.

The junior right-hander racked up 13 strikeouts and did not allow a hit during the Farmers’ 10-0 victory in six innings at the Aurora Sports Complex.

Already looking toward next season, Delta coach Matt Hall couldn’t help but smile after the game.

“I told them that this was the first game of next season,” said Hall, who has put Delta in the state playoffs for the second year in a row after an eight-year drought. “Other than the coaches and the team I don’t think many people expected us to be here. … Next year we’re looking at being one of the top seeds coming into this. Next year will be our year.”

The Panthers (12-11) started well, despite some nerves. Pitcher Tiffany Schaaf cruised through the first inning in order, and she ended up with five strikeouts.

In the second inning, the Farmers put runners on with an infield single and a flare to shallow right.

That set the table for Morgan Sturm, who laced a double to right field to bring in the first run of the game.

“Everyone thought we would come in and not be able to contend with them,” Schaaf said of the former 5A heavyweight playing its first season at 4A.

“We wanted to show them that we could hang with them. Once we gave up a run, we kind of got down and lost a little hope. And then another run led to some errors.”

Delta’s defense went a little sideways after the second inning by allowing some infield singles and missing playable balls in the outfield. The Farmers capitalized, opening up a 6-0 lead after four innings.

“We came out strong, and we came out believing,” Lea Sanford said. “Our offense just had to get going.”

Sanford was the only Panther to reach base, drawing a walk late in the game.

Wheat Ridge (21-2) advanced to the semifinal round with a convincing win in the second round.

“They showed that they can contend,” Farmers coach Marty Stricklett said of the Panthers. “They play a quality game.”

By PAUL WILLIS and BRADY DELANDER
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

AURORA — A season replete with highlights, gaudy statistics and groundbreaking accomplishments for the Central High School softball team ended with a thud Friday.
The Warriors were silenced by Ralston Valley pitcher Meaghan Murphy in the first round of the Class 5A state softball tournament — not to mention the Mustangs’ bats — in a 6-0 season-ending loss on a pristine fall day at All-Star Park
“They were a great team,” Central coach Sabrina Juarez said. “Their pitcher threw well, they were on, and we couldn’t manufacture any runs. It just wasn’t working for us.”
If it’s of any condolence to Central, Ralston Valley moved on to thump top-seeded Rocky Mountain 9-1 and earn a spot in today’s semifinals. If anything, that proved the Mustangs were a tough draw as a No. 8 seed of 16 teams (Central was ninth).
“They didn’t make mistakes,” Central pitcher Mikayla Duffy said. “It wasn’t like we didn’t give it our all.”
Duffy, a sophomore, was brilliant in relief, pitching 41/3 hitless innings. By then, though, the damage was done as the Mustangs erupted for all six of their runs in the first two innings.
A two-run double by Caitlin Jagodzinski and solo home run by Mary Towner finished Warriors starter Ashley Goletz. But the way Murphy was going, Central (19-4) could have given up one run and still decidedly have been on the short end. The Warriors managed only three hits, a single and double by third baseman Rachel Romine and a single by Goletz.
When remembering the 2008 campaign, however, the Warriors won’t let Friday’s performance define it.
“I can’t ever remember a softball team at Central doing so well,” said Juarez, who finished her fourth season with the Warriors. “I couldn’t be prouder of these kids. We came out and we played hard, it just wasn’t our day.”
One reason for hope in the future is Duffy, who established herself as the probable ace for the next two seasons.
“It was a good step for me,” Duffy said.
“We’ll have some holes to fill since we’re losing four seniors, but we’ll be OK. We had a huge season. I’ll always remember this year. Our seniors were great.” 
CLASS 4A
Having already exceeded expectations for the season, the Delta Panthers exited the Class 4A state softball tournament with a lesson learned and hungry eyes on 2009.
The Panthers ran into a buzzsaw in top-seeded Wheat Ridge and its ace, Stephanie Routzon.
The junior right-hander racked up 13 strikeouts and did not allow a hit during the Farmers’ 10-0 victory in six innings at the Aurora Sports Complex.
Already looking toward next season, Delta coach Matt Hall couldn’t help but smile after the game.
“I told them that this was the first game of next season,” said Hall, who has put Delta in the state playoffs for the second year in a row after an eight-year drought. “Other than the coaches and the team I don’t think many people expected us to be here. … Next year we’re looking at being one of the top seeds coming into this. Next year will be our year.”
The Panthers (12-11) started well, despite some nerves. Pitcher Tiffany Schaaf cruised through the first inning in order, and she ended up with five strikeouts.
In the second inning, the Farmers put runners on with an infield single and a flare to shallow right.
That set the table for Morgan Sturm, who laced a double to right field to bring in the first run of the game.
“Everyone thought we would come in and not be able to contend with them,” Schaaf said of the former 5A heavyweight playing its first season at 4A.
“We wanted to show them that we could hang with them. Once we gave up a run, we kind of got down and lost a little hope. And then another run led to some errors.”
Delta’s defense went a little sideways after the second inning by allowing some infield singles and missing playable balls in the outfield. The Farmers capitalized, opening up a 6-0 lead after four innings.
“We came out strong, and we came out believing,” Lea Sanford said. “Our offense just had to get going.”
Sanford was the only Panther to reach base, drawing a walk late in the game.
Wheat Ridge (21-2) advanced to the semifinal round with a convincing win in the second round.
“They showed that they can contend,” Farmers coach Marty Stricklett said of the Panthers. “They play a quality game.”

By PAUL WILLIS and BRADY DELANDER
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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