Orchard Mesa 9-10 girls open state tourney with big victory
The state tournament in Little League is the great unknown.
Friday at Monument Little League, the Orchard Mesa 9-10 girls didn’t have a clue about its opponent Academy Little League from Colorado Springs.
The unfamiliarity didn’t affect Orchard Mesa in a 29-5 win.
“We don’t know about the teams coming over, so we practiced for everything,” Orchard Mesa coach Rick Shepherd said. “We practiced for slow pitching, fast pitching, and the girls were prepared.”
Orchard Mesa was the visiting team and did plenty of damage in the top of the first inning. Orchard Mesa drew five straight walks to begin the game before Cassidy Richardson hit a two-run single to give Orchard Mesa a 5-0 lead. Hannah Hutto brought in three more runs, putting Orchard Mesa ahead 11-0 after the first inning.
Orchard Mesa added six more in the second inning on five hits, including a two-run single from Katelynn Schwerdtfeger.
“Our philosophy is to not look for the walk, but to swing the bat,” Shepherd said. “We want to be aggressive at the plate.”
Orchard Mesa starting pitcher Hailey Schaneman threw the first two innings allowing no runs, one hit and striking out four.
Schaneman was taken out after the second inning to keep her pitch count low.
“I’m excited that we won,” Schaneman said. “We didn’t know what they had so we were trying to do our best.”
Orchard Mesa added seven more runs in the third inning to stretch its lead to 24-0.
“We have a really good group of girls that like to play softball,” Shepherd said. “They are a lot of fun to coach.”
Orchard Mesa advances to play Shaw Heights today at 10 a.m.
Monument defeated Ken Caryl 13-4 to advance to the championship game of its state tournament in Arvada.
Monument faces the winner of Ken Caryl and North Boulder on Sunday at noon.
If Monument loses, another championship game will be played Monday at 6 p.m.
Palisade fell 12-2 to North Boulder at Cherry Creek Little League.
Palisade had the game tied 1-1 after the first inning, but allowed a 10-run second inning.
North Boulder’s big inning included a grand slam.
“They were a good team, and we were a little off,” Palisade coach Mike Seriani said. “They had the big inning and we couldn’t recover.”
Palisade plays Academy today at 10 a.m. in an elimination game.