Hays’ two home runs carry Warriors past Tigers
For her first home run Tuesday night, Jordyn Hays waited patiently. As the pitch curled in, the Central softball player held her bat away from the strike zone as long as she could.
Hays’ first home run landed near the Colorado Mesa University football practice field, sailing out just right of center field. On her second home run, she didn’t wait nearly as long, ripping a no-doubt grand slam that she pulled hard to left field.
Hays’ two home runs and seven RBI lifted Central to a 10-0, five-inning victory over Grand Junction at Bergman Field.
It wasn’t the first time Hays, a junior, hit two home runs in a varsity game. She did it last year against the Tigers, too.
But the first shot, launched early in the first inning, was unusually patient for the catcher with astonishing bat speed and a lot of power packed into a small frame.
Usually, she turns and pulls a pitch she really likes, or she’ll let the first pitch go by entirely.
“I usually watch the first pitch go by,” Hays said. “But I waited on that. I don’t even know what the pitch was, it was just right there and I swung at it. It was right there and it went out.”
Then, her grand slam in the fourth inning put the Warriors (9-2-1, 1-0 Southwestern League) up 10-0 in their league opener against the Tigers (3-6, 0-1). The line drive landed more than 40 feet beyond the fence. “OK, that one was really out in front,” she said with a smile. “I just ripped that.”
Those home runs, combined with a scrappy three-run rally in the second inning, backed a one-hitter by pitcher Melissa Gellermann. The senior struck out six without issuing a walk.
That combination made it a smooth victory for Central coach Scott Else.
“Mel throws really well so we have this mantra that if we score four or five runs, we’ll be OK,” Else said. “Mel’s been hitting well, and so has Jordyn, but she’s been hitting it right at people. They kinda switched places tonight, with Mel hitting it right at people and Jordyn just crushing it. It’s a good problem to have with Jordyn and Mel at the 3 and 4 spots, especially with the speed we have up top in the lineup.”
Trinity Santiago, Sierra Batchelor, Tori Shuman and Haley Coghill each joined Hays with multiple hits as Central pounded out 11 hits.
The Warriors have only lost once since a 7-0 defeat in the season opener against ThunderRidge. The next loss didn’t come until the championship game of the Dave Sanders Memorial Softball Tournament in Aurora last weekend, one of two title games the Warriors appeared in. The weekend before, Central won the Don McCall Tournament in Douglas County.
Else said the loss to ThunderRidge sparked the success. “They’re pretty confident at this point,” Else said. “They got boat raced by ThunderRidge and that gave them a little wake-up call. We called people out and the coaches took some responsibility and we said that wasn’t going to happen again. We feel like we could be 11-1 at this point. We lost a game we could have won and had that tie, so they’re playing with a lot of confidence now.”