Palisade can’t for 4A regional to start
A two-run difference got Palisade into the postseason.
By defeating Rifle by a total of two runs (5-4, 3-2), the Bulldogs clinched their first Class 4A softball postseason berth since 2004.
“I’ve been talking to the girls and they are excited to play,” Palisade coach John Vanlandingham said. “They are ready to play.”
The Bulldogs are seeded No. 29, which put them in Region 4 with host team No. 4 Niwot. Thomas Jefferson and Silver Creek round out the four-team regional at Garden Acres Park in Longmont.
“I was happy with the seeding placement,” Vanlandingham said. “All we have to do is swing the bat, and we’ll be OK.”
Palisade opens against Niwot and will most likely face the Cougars’ ace, Kali Haas, who has 182 strikeouts to only 18 walks this season. Haas is no slouch at the plate, with a .500 batting average and eight doubles.
Palisade will attempt to combat Haas’ ability on the mound with a steady hitting lineup of Hannah Tredway (.415, 32 stolen bases), Shelby Hanson (.464, seven home runs) and Kendra Barnes (.538, seven home runs).
“We have to get our leadoff runners on,” Vanlandingham said, “because Hannah, Shelby, Kendra and Tiffany Wells have all been hitting the ball well.”
Bulldogs will pitch Hanson, who has a 2.75 ERA with 92 strikeouts this season. Emily Crow (6-1, 2.20 ERA) is also an option for the Bulldogs in relief or to start a second game.
With a five-game winning streak heading into regionals, Vanlandingham said the Bulldogs have a lot of confidence going into Saturday’s tournament.
“Since we played Rifle last week things have started coming together,” Vanlandingham said. “Defensively we have to focus, but these girls are excited to go over and play.”
Two other 4A Western Slope teams are in Region 8 with second-seeded Windsor. Montrose received the No. 31 seed and plays Windsor. On the bottom half of the bracket is WSL champion Delta, the No. 18 seed overall. The Panthers play No. 15 Broomfield.