Prairie View goes 3-0 in Deke DeCrow tourney

Both softball teams could have been 3-0 when the dust settled Saturday at the Kronkright Softball Complex.

Instead, Fruita Monument and Grand Junction each finished 2-1 at the Deke DeCrow Memorial Tournament when neither could to finish off Prairie View.

As a result, the Thunderhawks left town with the only 3-0 record at the two-day tourney. Central played only one game, a 3-1 loss to Prairie View, and Palisade finished 0-3. Delta was 1-2, and Montezuma Cortez was 1-1.

Prairie View persevered in its wins against Fruita and Grand Junction.

The Wildcats rallied to force extra innings Friday evening against the Thunderhawks and took a 4-3 lead with a run in the top of the eighth inning. But Prairie View responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame for the 5-4 win.

Grand Junction led the Thunderhawks 8-3 after four innings Saturday, but Prairie View’s top pitcher, Margarita Sena, entered the game in relief and threw three scoreless innings to close the game. Meanwhile, the Thunderhawks scored three runs in the fifth and six runs in the seventh for a 12-8 win.

“We beat ourselves, they didn’t beat us,” Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said, claiming eight of Prairie View’s runs were unearned.

The Tigers then showed some resiliency, turning right around and taking the field against Palisade. The Bulldogs rallied from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead after two innings, and the game was tied 4-4 after three innings.

From there, Grand Junction pitcher Haley Hutto shut out Palisade, and the Tigers’ bats delivered four more runs for an 8-4 win.

“I love the way they played,” Diaz said. “They didn’t give up.”

The Tigers hit well in all three games, and no one did it better than leadoff hitter Cami Sanchez, who finished the day 5 for 8 with six runs, one of them coming on a home run. She had seven hits in the tournament.

Booming bats were on display in each of Fruita’s games Saturday as the Wildcats beat Palisade 10-0 and Delta 15-5. Both games were shortened by the 10-run rule.

Olivia Bratt hit a two-run home run in each game, and the Wildcats belted three home runs against Delta. Rachel Skillicorn hit a grand slam to highlight Fruita’s six-run second inning against the Panthers, and freshman Brandi Haller, who went 3 for 3, hit a solo home run.

For two-game production, Sheridan Van Hoose led the way, collecting three hits in each game.

“Finally,” Wildcats coach Eddie Mort said of the steady offensive production Saturday. “It took a few innings to get going, but once we did, we hit well. What was nice was everyone from the first batter to the ninth batter was hitting.

“Pitching, we were good. Defensively we were solid. That’s what we wanted, knowing the bats would come around.”

Speaking of pitching, Lauren Reed delivered in the Wildcats’ first game Saturday, shutting out Palisade on one hit in the six-inning contest.

Despite losing two games in the tournament, Delta coach Steve Reiher accentuated the positives from the past week, which included a win Thursday in the Panthers’ season opener against Montrose.

Delta’s a Class 4A school, and its losses were to 5A schools: Grand Junction and Fruita.

“After beating Montrose Thursday night, if we were 2-2 coming out of the weekend, I was going to feel pretty good,” Reiher said. “And if we were 3-1, I was going to be ecstatic. Fruita and Junction are very good programs.”

Reiher also loved what he saw Saturday morning from junior pitcher Hannah Easter in Delta’s 16-3 win over Montezuma-Cortez. Easter scattered three hits, issued four walks and struck out 11 batters in a game shortened to five innings.

“She was impressive,” he said.


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