Tigers, Wildcats in same region for softball playoffs
The Fruita Monument and Grand Junction high school softball teams each received a regional playoff berth, but they couldn’t escape each other.
The Wildcats (16-3) received the No. 8 overall seed and host the Region 2 tournament Saturday at Kronkright Complex, facing No. 25 Rangeview (13-6) at 10 a.m.
Grand Junction (16-3) received the No. 24 seed and is in the same region as Fruita Monument, playing No. 9 Ralston Valley (13-6) at 10 a.m.
Two teams in each region advance to the state tournament next week at Aurora Sports Park.
“I’m glad we’re hosting,” Fruita coach Jamie Dunn said. “It sounds like it was a battle to get to host. The downside to it is you have two good teams from our league (in the same region).”
Fruita Monument was the No. 8 seed two years ago and hosted a regional and had to defeat Grand Junction to qualify for state.
The Southwestern League champion Wildcats, ranked fifth in the latest Denver Post poll, have won nine consecutive games since Dunn altered her pitching rotation, starting Jenni Sneddon and using Mallory Paulson in relief.
“It’s worked out pretty well for us,” Dunn said. “We’re going to ride it as long as we can. It’s hard to tell if we’ll be able to ride it through the postseason.
“We’re trying to get Jenni as prepared as possible. I know Mal will be ready to go. We’ll have to play with more determination.”
Sneddon is 6-1 with a 3.16 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 37 2⁄3 innings. Paulson is 9-2 with a 1.91 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 621⁄3 innings.
Ralston Valley, ranked ninth in the Denver Post poll, took third place in the Jeffco League behind No. 4 seed Chatfield and No. 5 seed Dakota Ridge. Five of the Mustangs’ six losses came to teams seeded in the top nine in 5A and 4A.
Grand Junction, ranked eighth in the Post poll, received one of the two at-large berths.
The Tigers’ ace, Cierra Cosslett, is 10-1 with a 1.79 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 78 innings.
“We wanted an opportunity and we got it,” Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said. “We get to play at home, too.”
Montrose (11-8) received the No. 19 seed and plays No. 14 Niwot (11-8) at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Region 5 tournament at Barnes Complex in Loveland.
The region is hosted by No. 3 seed Windsor (15-3-1), which plays No. 30 Conifer (9-9).
Delta (9-8) picked up the one spot out of the Western Slope League is seeded No. 29.
The Panthers play Region 4 host and No. 4 seed D’Evelyn (15-4) at 10 a.m. Saturday at Barnes Complex.
No. 13 Thompson Valley (11-8) and No. 20 Roosevelt (10-9) round out the field.
Durango (12-6) is the No. 15 seed and plays Saturday in the Region 8 tournament at Runyon Field in Pueblo.
The Demons face No. 18 Mountain View (11-8) at 10 a.m. No. 2 Pueblo South (18-1) plays No. 31 Lewis-Palmer (7-11).