Central softball team to host 5A regional for 1st time in five years

Hosting a Class 5A regional is something Central High School softball coach Scott Else is all-too familiar with. That’s not the case, however, for his players.

The Warriors, who last week won the Southwestern League championship for the third consecutive year, will host the 5A Region 8 Tournament on Saturday at Kronkright Softball Complex. It’s the first time in five years the Warriors have hosted a regional.

That means none of Central’s players have had a chance to play a regional game in their own proverbial back yard. Then again, it’s not like they’re unfamiliar with big games.

“Most of the girls have played in high-level tournaments over the summer, so they’re pretty familiar with that atmosphere,” Else said. “Still, they’re both excited and scared.”

Scared?

“Hey, going to state is a big deal,” Else said. “With all of the hoopla that goes with it, it would be huge for these girls.”

The Warriors (16-2-1), who nabbed the second seed in the 32-team regional bracket, play 31st-seeded Liberty (13-6) while Fort Collins (12-7) plays ThunderRidge (13-6) at 10 a.m. Saturday. Two state qualifiers come out of the regional.

Broomfield (17-2) is the regional round’s top seed.

The Warriors weren’t the only Western Slope softball team to reach a regional bracket.

Among them was Fruita Monument (11-8), the second-place finisher to Central in the SWL standings.

The Wildcats are the 24th seed in the Class 5A field and open play in the Region 2 Tournament against Rocky Mountain (14-5) at Loveland on Saturday.

Like Central, Rifle (14-5) goes into the 4A tournament with a league title after winning this year’s 4A Western Slope League championship. The Bears are the classification’s 21st-seeded team and play 12th-seeded Thomas Jefferson (17-2) in the 4A Region 3 Tournament in Arvada.

Also making the 4A field was Montrose (8-11), which was the beneficiary of the RPI system that accounts for a team’s strength of schedule. The Indians are the 32nd seed and play at top-seeded Erie (19-0) on Saturday.

In 3A, Cedaredge (14-5) snagged a No. 10 seed after finishing second in the District 5 standings to Basalt, which earned a No. 8 seed. The Bruins play at The Academy in Westminster and play Akron (9-10) on Saturday for a state-tournament berth.

Delta (11-8), the No. 15 seed, plays Fort Lupton at Rocky Ford on Saturday. Meeker (11-8) is seeded 16th and plays 17th-seeded Limon (11-8) in Strasburg.


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