Mavs out at home
Mesa softball team fails to advance despite hosting RMAC tourney
Makayla Kovac admitted to some first-game jitters before the Colorado Mesa University softball team took the field Thursday in the RMAC tournament.
The jitters were team-wide, and probably tournament-wide. The Mavericks, seeded first in the eight-team tourney, shook them too late.
After dropping their tournament opener 14-9 to No. 8 seed Fort Lewis, the Mavericks’ late-inning rally against Adams State fell short, 10-8, and they were ushered out of the field, ending their season 27-21.
A dramatic six-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning got the Mavs within two runs, and they had the tying run at the plate in the bottom of the seventh after Brooke Ortale’s pinch-hit double to right-center with two out. Megan Brown, though, popped out to first.
Mesa wasted too many chances early.
After falling behind 2-0 in the first inning, they got one run back when Brown laced a double to center in the bottom of the inning and scored when Kovac reached on an error. After Jessica Severinsen walked to load the bases, the Mavericks could have broken the game open.
Instead, Adams State pitcher Kaycee Prevedel got Sarah Phillis to ground back to her, and she threw Madelyn Schulz out at the plate. Nicole Robinson, too, grounded back to Prevedel, who started an inning-ending 1-2-3 double play, getting Kovac at the plate and Robinson at first.
Another opportunity went by the wayside in the third inning, when Schulz banged a double off the top of the center-field fence, but was stranded when the heart of the order was retired. Kovac flied out to left and Severinsen and Phillis struck out.
Adams State didn’t flinch at the plate against Severinsen, the RMAC co-pitcher of the year, who struggled to keep the ball down in both games.
Central High School graduate Tayler Else, hitting in the No. 9 spot for the Grizzlies, came up with only her ninth hit of the season in the fourth inning, but it was a big one, a home run to right-center.
That gave the Grizzlies a 3-1 lead and triggered their four-run inning. Adams added three runs in the fifth inning to force the Mavericks into a score-or-go-home situation.
With one out and the bases loaded, Severinsen lifted a fly ball deep to left in foul territory, scoring Lindsay Drayer, who was hit by a pitch. Two runners were stranded when Phillis struck out.
Adams State’s leadoff hitter, Carly DeLorenzo, had a field day, going 5 for 5, including two bunt singles and an infield single. She stole six bases, scored three runs, giving her 60 stolen bases in 67 attempts.
After the Mavericks got the run they needed in the fifth to keep the game going, the Grizzlies got it right back on an RBI double by Kyanna Quarrell.
Once again, the Mavericks came back, scoring two runs on Rachel Boothe’s triple, then two more came home when Kovac laced an opposite-field single to right, which got past DeLorenzo, allowing Kovac to wheel into third. Severinsen followed with a rip to left, getting Kovac home and cutting it to 10-8.
Fort Lewis 14, Colorado Mesa 9: A whopping six errors dropped the top-seeded Mavericks into the elimination bracket.
“Six errors,” CMU coach Candace Abrams said. “Six errors. You can’t win when you have six errors. We had the hits, we just can’t win when we have six errors.”
Colorado Mesa was only three outs from avoiding the late-night game, but couldn’t put the Skyhawks away, giving up six runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Mesa had only one hit through three innings, a two-run home run by Kovac, and was down 7-2 at one point before rallying. A three-run fifth inning gave them a chance, and the Mavericks finally strung together enough hits in the sixth to take the lead.
With one out, Tawnee Woosley beat out an infield single, and Schulz ripped a two-out triple into the left-field corner, just avoiding the tag as she slid head-first into third. Kovac, who went 3 for 4 and drove in four runs, singled in another run to pull the Mavs within one run, 8-7.
Severinsen, who had been frustrated at the plate and in the pitching circle, finally got a pitch to hit and blasted it over the right-field fence, pumping her fist as she rounded first on her way to scoring the go-ahead run.
Ashley Pulido, who relieved Severinsen in the fifth inning, walked the leadoff batter, and then Kovac came up with a ground ball at short, but her throw was wide, putting runners at the corners.
It was the second of three errors for the sophomore RMAC player of the year.
“We wanted it a little bit too much there,” Kovac said. “You’ve gotta want it, but you have to be able to control your emotions and we didn’t do that very well.”
One run came home on a base hit by Kaitlyn Bending, and Missy Fundora followed with a two-run home run as part of the Skyhawks’ six-run uprising to advance.
Severinsen came back in to pitch after the home run and gave up two more runs.
“That’s where you want to be. Shut the door. That’s what we need to work on, shutting the door,” Severinsen said. “We’re up one run, shut the door, make the plays, keep the ball low. It wasn’t all on defense that last inning.”
Metro State 4, Adams State 1: The Roadrunners scored a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth to pad their 2-1 lead. Aubree Maul allowed only one run, a home run by the Grizzlies’ Erika Ecsedy in the first inning. After that, she allowed only three hits and struck out four. Kelsey Tillery went 2 for 3 and scored two of the Roadrunner’s runs. Metro (27-14) plays Fort Lewis at 10:45 this morning.
CU-Colorado Springs 4, Chadron State 3: Nikki Hoffman doubled home the winning run with two out in the top of the eighth inning to send the Mountain Lions (26-17) into the second round.
Jessica Belsterling set the Eagles down in order in the bottom of the eighth. Belsterling (12-5) threw 135 pitches, scattering six hits and striking out five. CU-Colorado Springs plays CSU-Pueblo at 8:30 this morning.
CSU-Pueblo 11, Regis 6: The ThunderWolves scored six runs in the bottom of the fourth to overcome a 6-2 deficit. Ariel Lopez drove in three runs for Pueblo (27-19), which plays CU-Colorado Springs at 8:30 this morning in the second round. Samantha Avii came on in relief in the fourth inning for Pueblo to pick up the victory, allowing only two base hits and striking out one.
Chadron State 12, Regis 9: The Eagles stayed alive by taking an 8-0 lead after 2 1/2 innings, then holding on as Regis came back to score seven runs in the bottom of the third and two more in the sixth. Chadron picked up four runs in the fourth inning. Sarah Knudsen went 3 for 5 and drove in three runs for the Eagles (28-22), who play the loser of today’s game between Fort Lewis and Metro State. Regis ended the season 22-28.