GJ rallies to finish perfect at Peach Fuzz

Arrianna Diaz came up with a big hit Saturday in the Tigers’ 14-4 victory over Thomas Jefferson at the Peach Fuzz Invitational. Diaz’s two-run single in the fourth inning gave Grand Junction some breathing room.

The Grand Junction High School girls softball team was tested Saturday in the Peach Fuzz Invitational.

The Tigers grabbed an early lead against Thomas Jefferson, which rallied to tie the game before Grand Junction answered to win 14-4 at the Kronkright Softball Complex.

“Their mettle was tested, they kept their composure and came back and answered,” Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said. “Great teams do that. They don’t let the game dictate what happens. We know what we are capable of. We believe in each other.”

Grand Junction joined Central and Fruita Monument in going 3-0 in the tournament. For Palisade, it was a learning experience. The Class 4A Bulldogs went 0-3, losing to three bigger schools — Central, Grand Junction and Durango.

The Tigers (5-1) appeared to be on their way to an easy win against Thomas Jefferson, building a 4-0 lead through three innings.

The Spartans (2-6) scored four runs in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game.

The first run scored after a dropped ball in a rundown. Two more followed on a base hit and a bunt single. The fourth scored on a fielder’s choice before Grand Junction escaped.

Instead of panicking, the Tigers came out fighting.

Madison Marsh hammered a ground-rule double to right field. Brianna Baldwin followed one out later with an RBI double and scored on a fielder’s choice. Shafer Rubalcaba singled home a run, then Arrianna Diaz added a two-run single, giving Grand Junction a 9-4 lead.

“We talk about when the game’s on the line you want to be in that situation,” Diaz said. “It’s your moment, you have to grab it and that’s exactly what the girls did.”

Grand Junction added five runs in the fifth. Marisa Millard had a RBI double and Diaz had a two-run single to end the game by run rule.

The Tigers defeated Prairie View 6-0 earlier Saturday. Grand Junction defeated Palisade 5-0 on Friday night.

Millard led the way, going 2 for 3 with a home run, double and three RBI. Cierra Cosslett pitched a three-hitter and struck out seven.

Central and Fruita Monument scored a lot of runs to easily pick up victories.

The Wildcats (3-0) scored a combined 49 runs, defeating Delta 20-1 in four innings and Prairie View 17-4 in six.

The offense overshadowed four errors in the two games.

“On Friday, Mallory (Paulson) had 11 strikeouts,” Fruita coach Jamie Dunn said. “The kids stood out there and get bored. Our first game this afternoon, they were hitting Mallory, so it was good for us. I needed to see what my defense can do. I’m trying to put kids in the right places.

“Even though we had some errors, a lot of good things came out of it. I have a little bit better of an idea. I told the kids this is the weekend everybody gets to play. We’re trying to figure out the best nine players to put on the field.”

Paulson gave up six hits and struck out 10 against Prairie View. She was 1 for 5 with a RBI double at the plate.

Jenny Sneddon pitched for Fruita against Delta and got plenty of help.

The Wildcats scored six runs in the first inning, three on a home run by Hannah Mahnke. Kendra Williams had two doubles and Hannah Englebrecht doubled for Fruita.

Central (3-0) scored 40 runs in its three tournament wins, 33 on Saturday. The Warriors defeated Thomas Jefferson 17-1 in four innings and Palisade 16-0 in four.

Laurel Rafferty pitched a one-hitter against the Bulldogs. She struck out five and walked one in four innings. Amanda Etcheverry nearly matched her against Thomas Jefferson, allowing four hits.

“We had a lot of positive things, but we have some things we need to work on too,” Else said. “We have a young team. We had good pitching out of Laurel. Brittany (Hoppe) was outstanding at the plate and on defense. We’re trying to find ourselves as a team. This gives us some confidence.”

Hoppe provided a lot of the offense against Delta with a grand slam to end the game and two doubles.

Durango defeated Palisade 8-4 in the Bulldogs’ first game Saturday.


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