Softball season starts anew

Central, Fruita, GJ home for regional tournaments

Photo by Gretel Daugherty—Central High School’s Mikayla Duffy throws a pitch to the plate during a recent game against Fruita Monument High School.


Regional schedule

Saturday at Canyon View Park

Region 8

Central vs. Grandview, 10 a.m., Bookcliff Field

Pine Creek vs. Poudre, 10 a.m., Mt. Garfield Field

Region 2

Fruita Monument vs. Ponderosa, 10 a.m., Liberty Cap Field

Green Mountain vs. Grand Junction, 10 a.m., Thunder Mountain Field

It’s win or go home this weekend for high school softball teams across the state.

Fruita Monument, Grand Junction and Central play in Saturday’s Class 5A regional softball tournaments at Canyon View Park.

Fruita Monument and Grand Junction are in Region 2, with the Wildcats owning the top seed. Central is the top seed in Region 8, and the No. 2 seed overall in the 32-team state tournament.

Four teams in each bracket play a double-elimination tournament for two spots in next week’s state tournament at Aurora Sports Park.

“The approach is, it’s whole new season,” Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said. “Everyone is 0-0, and it’s a level playing field across the board.”

Saturday’s games begin at 10 a.m., with a championship game at 12:30 p.m. The second qualifier game begins at 3 p.m.

Here’s a closer look at the teams involved in the two tournaments at Canyon View.

Region 8 Central

Location: Grand Junction

Mascot: Warriors

Seed: No. 2

Head coach: Scott Else (1st year)

State Championships: None

Record: 18-1, 9-1 Southwestern League

Streak: Won 7

Quality wins: Eaglecrest (4-1), Mountain Vista (16-6), Brighton (4-0)

Offense: Mikayla Duffy, Jr., .672 BA, 8 triples, 56 RBI, 11 doubles; Tayler Else, Sr., .530 BA, 5 doubles, 8 Stolen Bases; Danielle Romine, Jr., .630 BA, 28 RBI; Brittany Hoppe, So., .478 BA, 10 doubles, 21 RBI.

Pitching: Duffy, 13-1 1.00 ERA, 91Ks; Alexis Walters, 5-0, 3.63 ERA, 18 Ks.

The Goods: Central has played nearly perfect at times this season, scoring at least four runs in all 17 of its wins. Duffy has been so tough on the mound that the Warriors have allowed only 45 runs all season. Central is in the driver’s seat, and if the Warriors can play mistake-free softball they should be difficult to beat.


Location: Aurora

Mascot: Wolves

Seed: No. 31

Head Coach: Bill Kramm (2nd year)

State Championships: None

Record: 9-10,  8-6 Centennial League

Streak: Lost 2

Quality wins: Eaglecrest (1-0, 1-0), Cherokee Trail (3-2), Smoky Hill (9-5)

Offense: Meghan McGowan, Sr., .426 BA, 16 stolen bases; Marina Quimby, So., .306 BA, 7 doubles; Miranda Finley, Jr., .258 BA, 12 RBI, 4 doubles.

Pitching: Quimby, 9-10, 3.12 ERA, 119 Ks.

The Goods: Grandview is one of the toughest 9-10 teams around. The Wolves have played quality teams all season, and have only two losses that came by 10 runs or more. One of those losses was against Central (12-2) during the Dave Sanders Tournament. The bright side of the loss was that the Wolves have already seen the Warriors, which should help when the two teams square off.

Pine Creek

Location: Colorado Springs

Mascot: Eagles

Seed: No. 15

Head Coach: Dominic Madril (11th year)

State Championships: None

Record: 13-6, 9-2 Colorado Springs Metro

Streak: Won 3

Quality Wins: Fountain Fort Carson (2-0), Rampart (7-4)

Offense: Katie Marquard, Jr.; Kelly Jo Grover, Sr. (No stats available)

Pitching: Cassandra Wall, Jr., 13-5.

The Goods: Pine Creek got off to a rocky start this season losing three of its first four games. The Eagles turned it around going 12-2 in their past 14 games. Pine Creek has been playing competitive, and has the ability to put runs on the scoreboard hitting the 12 or more run mark three times this season.


Location: Fort Collins

Mascot: Impalas

Seed: No. 18

Head Coach: Christy Malara (5th year)

State Championships: 1991

Record: 15-4, 8-3 Front Range League

Streak: Won 3

Quality Wins: Fort Collins (4-3), Loveland (6-5), Mountain Range (4-1)

Offense: Kasey Cash, Jr., .415 BA, 4 doubles, 2 triples; Raquel Escareno, So., .397 BA, 21 RBI, 3 HR; Monique Long, Sr., .311 BA, 3 RBI

Pitching: Escareno, 14-4, 1.33 ERA, 150 Ks.

The Goods: Poudre knows how to play and win the close game. The Impalas’ last six games were all decided by three runs or fewer, with Poudre winning five of those games. Escareno is a flame thrower on the mound and could give opponents trouble in the regional tournament.

Region 2 Fruita Monument

Location: Fruita

Mascot: Wildcats

Seed: No. 8

Head Coach: Jamie Dunn (1st year)

State Championships: 1989

Record: 17-2, 9-1 Southwestern League

Streak: Won 1

Quality Wins: Central (2-1), Grand Junction (2-1, 7-0)

Offense: Taylor Johnson, Jr., .417 BA, 10 RBI, 5 doubles; Kendra Williams, So., .338 BA, 7 RBI; Ashleigh Wissel, Jr., .393 BA, 20 RBI, 5 HR, 10 doubles; Brooke Williams, Sr., .359 BA, 8 doubles, 2 triples.

Pitching: Erika Chirdon, Jr., 10-1, 1.69 ERA, 55 Ks; Krystina Pacheco, Sr., 6-0, 2.58 ERA, 32 Ks.

The Goods: Fruita’s 17-2 record might surprise some of the Front Range schools, but the Wildcats are that good. Fruita has a balanced team that doesn’t rely too much on one player or one aspect of its game. On the mound, Chirdon’s off-speed pitches can be untouchable, and the Wildcats have a balanced offensive lineup. The key for the Wildcats will be not being overwhelmed by the playoff atmosphere.


Location: Parker

Mascot: Mustangs

Seed: No. 25

Head Coach: Toby Tabola (2nd year)

State Championships: 1993

Record: 13-4, 6-3 Continental League

Streak: Loss 2

Quality Wins: Arvada West (1-0), Chatfield (4-1)

Offense: Christine Martini, So., .431 BA, 17 RBI, 3 HR; Kelly Flynn, Sr., .407 BA, 8 RBI; MacKenzie Maes, So., .391 BA, 14 RBI, 7 doubles.

Pitching: Shanna Christian, So., 7-2, 1.26 ERA, 78 Ks.

The Goods: The Mustangs have lost only four games coming into the state tournament, but their Record is deceiving. Ponderosa has lost its last two scoring a combined two runs in those games. Regardless, Ponderosa can be a dangerous hitting team, and have six games this season where its scored at least 10 runs.

Green Mountain

Location: Lakewood

Mascot: Rams

Seed: No. 9

Head Coach: Danny Abrams (2nd year)

State Championships: 1990

Record: 14-5, 7-2 JeffCo

Streak: Won 3

Quality Wins: Standley Lake (2-1), Pomona (7-4)

Offense: Kristyn Peters, Fr., .483 BA, 22 RBI, 7 doubles; Megan Brown, Jr., .345 BA, 9 stolen bases; Demi Riecke, Sr., .277 BA, 12 RBI, 5 doubles.

Pitching: Emily Canaday, Jr., 8-2, 1.80 ERA, 72 Ks., Peters 6-3, 1.54 ERA, 81 Ks.

The Goods: By seed, Green Mountain is the best team not hosting a regional tournament. The Rams are in the tough JeffCo league and played the top teams in that league close. Green Mountain rolls with a two-pitcher rotation, which gives them options depending on the opponent.

Grand Junction

Location: Grand Junction

Mascot: Tigers

Seed: No. 24

Head Coach: Adam Diaz (2nd year)

State Championships: None

Record: 14-5, 6-4 SWL

Streak: Won 5

Quality Wins: Delta (5-4, 4-2), Rifle (4-0)

Offense: Kelsey Jull, Jr., .474 BA, 27 RBI, 4 HR; Jenny Kelly, Sr., .411 BA, 16 RBI, 3 doubles; Paula Lage, Jr., .345 BA, 23 RBI, 5 doubles.

Pitching: Cierra Cosslett, So.,  8-3, 3.07 ERA, 81 Ks.; Arrianna Diaz, Fr., 6-2, 4.80, 25 Ks.

The Goods: Grand Junction has yet to beat a Class 5A team with a winning record this year, but the Tigers are a confident team playing well at this point. Grand Junction will have to get great pitching from Cosslett and Diaz along with strong defense behind them. The talent is there for the Tigers, it’s now a matter of putting it together at the right time.


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