Ready to make a statement
With a healthy Ammermann, Montrose hopes for upset in 4A state tournament
Pueblo South has seen this before: During last season’s first round of the Class 4A state softball tournament, Montrose came in against the Colts as a low seed and nearly nabbed an upset.
Once again, Montrose (16-6), a No. 14 seed, will play No. 3 Pueblo South (16-5) in the first round at 12:15 p.m. today at the Aurora Sports Park in Aurora. The winner will play Wheat Ridge or Thompson Valley in the quarterfinals at 2:30 p.m. Semifinals and the final will be played Saturday.
Last season in the first round, Montrose lost 1-0 to Pueblo South as Lara Ammermann shut down the Colts.
Ammermann is back and will start on the mound against Pueblo South today.
“I don’t know that the underdog thing will work much this time,” Montrose coach Joe Bolinger said.
The Indians have been to state the previous two years and have yet to make it out of the first round.
But at least one thing is different: Ammermann no longer is coming off the blood clots in her lungs and ensuing pneumonia that plagued her during the summer of 2011 and about half of the subsequent high school season.
She’s back, healthy, and batted .448 with two home runs and 15 RBI this season. On the mound, she is 12-3 with a 1.05 ERA and 92 strikeouts in 99 innings pitched.
“It’s been a really great year not having to deal with any of that,” Ammermann said, “because I didn’t have to sit out of anything and was able to practice whenever I wanted to practice.”
Bolinger said Ammermann may be stronger for having gone through her health issues.
“She’s a pretty strong girl anyway, and probably that just helped her competitiveness,” Bolinger said. “She wasn’t about to let anything keep her down.”
Bolinger couldn’t name just one hitter who’s particularly hot of late. The Indians are batting .307 as a team. Ammermann leads the team in batting average, followed by Jenna Chisom, who is hitting .381 with seven doubles.
Montrose took second in the Region 1 tournament, defeating Cheyenne Mountain after losing 15-6 to Falcon in the first round. The Indians then defeated Falcon 3-2 in a rematch for second place.
A large part of Montrose’s success was its stellar fielding, and Bolinger said his outstanding fielder this season has been Shalynn McKee in left field.
“I think probably her biggest attribute is when a coach tells her something, she listens and she hears what they’re saying and absorbs it and is able to do it,” Bolinger said. “She’s focused, she’s fast, covers a lot of ground.”
Pueblo South, the Class 4A Region 6 champion, is led by senior pitcher Lexi Martindale, who is hitting .443 with three home runs, 10 doubles and 16 RBI. She also is 12-4 on the mound with a 1.61 ERA, including 113 strikeouts.
“I think if we play our game we’re going to have a solid game,” Ammermann said. “And it’s not going to be a blowout. It’s going to be close.”