Warriors rule in extra innings

Harley Huser of Mountain Range, 22, slides safely into third base Friday as the ball skips away from Central third baseman Tiana Wirth during the first day of the Deke DeCrow Memorial Tournament at Kronkright Park.

Central High School’s Tyler Hays hit a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to force extra innings, and two innings later, the Warriors added three runs to beat Mountain Range 6-3 on Friday, the first day of the Deke DeCrow Memorial Softball Tournament.

In the top of the ninth, Central started with a runner on second base per international tiebreaker rules, and Kenzie Lange led off the inning with a double for the game-winning run. Taryn Smith’s two-out triple scored two more runs for good measure.

“That’s a big win for us. That’s a good team,” Central coach Scott Else said of Mountain Range. “We’ve got a young team, and for them not to give up is a big thing. Hopefully that builds some confidence.”

The Warriors improved to 5-0 heading into their two games today in the tourney, which will feature eight games involving the four School District 51 softball teams.

Winning pitcher Amanda Etcheverry threw all nine innings for Central, and Else said he intentionally had her wait until the later innings to throw her change-up against a good-hitting team.

“She really got stronger as the game went on,” Else said. “We saved her off-speed stuff for later. ... Around the sixth inning she started throwing change-ups and got them to hit it in the air.”

Etcheverry had one strikeout and didn’t walk a batter.

Hays hit her game-tying home run over the center-field fence after Sydney Corra reached on an error with one out in the seventh inning.

Tiana Wirth, one of the Warriors’ two seniors, went 3 for 4, and Etcheverry collected two hits, including a double.

Fruita Monument 11, Heritage 3: The Wildcats (2-0) took a 7-1 lead after two innings and cruised to a win behind solid pitching by freshman Taylor Laing.

Laing threw the first five innings, scattering two hits and walking three. She didn’t strike out a batter, but she was a popup-inducing machine.

“She throws a natural little rise-curve and throws hard, which is why a lot of batters will pop it up against her,” Fruita coach Eddie Mort said.

Cleanup hitter Makenzi DeCrow paced the Wildcats’ 13-hit attack by going 3 for 4 with two RBI. No. 3 hitter Rachel Skillicorn had two hits and a walk and scored three times, and Olivia Bratt added two hits and an RBI.

Mort said his players are doing what he’s asked them to do through two games.

“Our energy and our hustle is winning games, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.

Grand Junction 3, ThunderRidge 2: ThunderRidge took a two-run lead with a run in the top of the fifth inning, but the Tigers responded with two runs in the bottom of the frame to win their tournament opener.

Shafer Rubalcaba led off the bottom of the fifth with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice by Molly Findlay, and after Brittany Arcieri was hit by a pitch, Madi Marsh laced a two-run double.

Winning pitcher Elisha Jahnke and Grand Junction’s defense did the rest as the Tigers improved to 5-1.

Jahnke scattered three hits, walked one batter, hit two batters with pitches and struck out nine.

“Elisha was definitely hitting her spots today and was throwing with a little more speed,” Grand Junction coach Adam Diaz said. “She came ready to play.”

The Tigers’ defense was solid, Diaz said, and at times it was spectacular. He cited Findlay, the second baseman for making a diving catch, and shortstop Marisa Arrieta caught two balls on the run into the outfield.

Arcieri, the Tigers’ first baseman, threw out a runner at home in the fourth inning after she hustled to get a ball that got away into foul territory. One runner scored on the play, but the second runner who tried to score was out at the plate.

“That saved a run,” Diaz said.

Marsh and Jahnke each had two of the Tigers’ seven hits, and Jahnke and Morgan Zanski joined Marsh by hitting doubles.

Prairie View 13, Palisade 2: Prairie View pounced on Palisade early, leading 6-0 after two innings, and took advantage of eight errors and 10 hits to win in five innings.

“I think our first inning was a bunch of nerves,” Bulldogs coach Megan Stluka said of the four runs allowed in the first frame.

Of the errors, she said, “We just need to tighten up our defense and back up our pitcher a little bit.”


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