The Central High School softball team’s season came to an end Friday with a 9-4 loss to Chatfield in the first round of the Class 5A state tournament in Aurora.
Central broke a scoreless tie in the third inning when Bailee Ritterbush bunted to score Sidona Johnston. Ritterbush was safe on a Chatfield error and Kennedy Vis followed with a fielder’s choice groundout to drive in Olivia Litzen.
The Chargers took a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the third on a two-run error and an RBI single by Lexi Balfanz. Central tied the score in the top of the fourth on Litzen’s RBI single with two outs. With runners on second and third, Ritterbush struck out swinging — one of 16 strikeouts in the loss for the Warriors (21-6).
Chatfield broke the game open with a six-run sixth inning. A bases-loaded hit by pitch brought in the go-ahead run and the Chargers followed with two RBI singles, a sacrifice fly and another RBI single.
In her final prep game, Vis took the loss, allowing nine runs on 14 hits. Litzen had two of the Warriors’ eight hits in the loss.
The pack running style paid off for the Central High School boys team at the Class 4A Region 1 meet at Evergreen Memorial Park.
The Warriors’ five scoring runners all finished in the top 25 to lead Central to a second-place team finish and a berth in the Oct. 30 state meet. The top four teams and the top 15 individuals qualified.
Jackson Edwards was the first Central runner to cross the line, finishing ninth in 17 minutes, 7.4 seconds. Tyler Stogsdill was right behind Edwards, finishing 10th. Jordan Leblow was 14th, Billy Adams finished 21st and Alex Fisher was 24th.
Grand Junction and Palisade also competed in the regional with the Tigers’ Miller Jones finishing 39th and the Bulldogs’ Zenon Reece finishing 43rd. Thomas Berry was 45th and Daniel Duffy was 51st for Grand Junction.
In the girls race, Central’s Tristian Spence finished second in 18:54.1. The Warriors’ senior was the only District 51 runner to qualify for state.
Palisade’s top finisher was Maddie Mohler, who was 40th and Grand Junction’s top finisher was Riley Pope who finished 51st.
In its first match in eight days, Fruita Monument defeated Durango 25-17, 25-20, 25-13.
BayLea Sparks had 16 kills, Hayden Murray had 20 assists and Trinity Hafey contributed 19 digs for the Wildcats (15-3, 7-1 Southwestern league).