Mya Murdock had come up big for the Central High School softball team throughout her career and throughout her senior season.
In a scoreless deadlock in Highlands Ranch with a berth in the Class 5A state semifinals on the line and with extra innings potentially looming with two outs in the sixth, Murdock hit a double to center field and scored on Sidona Johnston’s ensuing double for the run that made Oct. 8 a special day for the program.
“I just felt the power from my teammates and I got that double,” Murdock told The Daily Sentinel after the Warriors’ 1-0 win over top-seeded Rock Canyon. “I had faith in Sidona and I knew I would score.”
Now-former Central coach Scott Else’s 12th and final Warriors squad once again rolled through the Southwestern League for their ninth championship in his tenure. After that accomplishment, the Warriors achieved another: their second trip to the state semifinals in three years.
“I think we’re the best team on the Western Slope,” Else said. “Year after year we try to reload and prove that.”
The Warriors began their playoff run by exacting some revenge against Legend, which ended Central’s previous Final Four run in 2018 with an 8-3 win as it took home its second straight title. This time around, pitcher Kennedy Vis pitched five shutout innings and struck out four batters in a complete-game effort, and Myah Arrieta’s three-hit, three-RBI effort was enough to lift Central to a first-round win.
The 1-0 win over Rock Canyon, which featured another stellar outing from Vis, propelled Central to Aurora for a chance at state glory. In Else’s final game as the coach, Central came up short, 4-0, against eventual state champions Fossil Ridge to finish 15-4.
Despite the heartbreaking ending, 2020 was another successful season for Central. Murdock and Arrieta were both selected first-team All-State players and the Warriors earned the right to compete with the best. Although Central will miss the presence of five graduated seniors and their longtime leader, new coach Aaron Berk, a seven-year assistant under Else, will have a stable foundation, and a reliable senior pitcher, to rely upon.
“I knew we could (make the semifinals),” Vis said. “This team is awesome when we work together.”