Orchard Mesa 9-10 girls win state championship
The Orchard Mesa 9-10 girls softball team’s balanced attack has led to success.
Monday at Monument Little League, Orchard Mesa defeated Shaw Heights 14-1 in four innings to win the 9-10 girls Little League state championship.
“All the girls came along and did a great job,” Orchard Mesa coach Rick Shepherd said. “Hopefully we have them coming back next year to go for a state title in Majors.”
Starting pitcher Hannah Hutto, Hailey Schaneman and Katelynn Schwerdtfeger all are back-to-back state champions after playing for the Orchard Mesa 9-10 group in 2010.
“They are really happy to be back-to-back state champs,” Shepherd said.
Hutto pitched Orchard Mesa to the victory Saturday, striking out 16 batters, to defeat Shaw Heights.
Monday, Hutto was just as strong. After allowing one run in the first inning, Hutto kept Shaw Heights scoreless and finished the game with nine strikeouts.
Shepherd said Hutto has been preparing to be on the big stage for a while.
“She used to live right next door to us when she was little and my daughter was pitching in little league then, and she would sit out there for hours and just watch,” Shepherd said. “She fell in love with it and started doing really well with it.”
Hutto allowed Elena Fierro to reach third base in the bottom of the fourth inning before striking out the final two batters to clinch the title.
“Sometimes the hardest part is keeping your defense awake,” Shepherd said. “But they all stayed focused.”
Hutto had plenty of cushion after Orchard Mesa put up nine runs in the bottom of the first inning. Schaneman had a two-run single and Jenna Sutliff added an RBI single.
Breck Smith and Bailey Wright scored in a five-run third inning to put the game away.
“We talked about getting off to a good start,” Shepherd said. “We wanted to get up early and put the pressure on them.”
The 9-10 age division doesn’t have a regional tournament, making the state tournament the final action of the year.
Monument defeated Tri-Lakes 18-9 to move into the championship game of its tournament in Frisco.
Monument has a rematch with North Boulder at 11 a.m. today. North Boulder won the first game between the two teams 7-5 on Saturday.
If Monument wins, the two teams play again on Wednesday.