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Two Parker high schools had banner days on Oct. 23 at Aurora Sports Park. Legend and Lutheran captured championships at the state softball championship with convincing wins in the title games. The …
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Two Parker high schools had banner days on Oct. 23 at Aurora Sports Park.
Legend and Lutheran captured championships at the state softball championship with convincing wins in the title games.
The Legend Titans, the fourth seed in the bracket, won their third Class 5A state crown in the past five years with an 8-0 win over Columbine of Jefferson County to finish the season with a 25-4 record.
The top-seeded Lutheran Lions continued to show their season-long dominance with a 13-2 romp over University High School of Greeley in the Class 3A championship contest as the Lions completed a 29-0 season.
Legend won back-to-back state titles in 2017 and 2018. This season’s team started slow but played well down the stretch.
“We have a young team,” said Titans coach Kristen Shirk. “We fired on all cylinders and that was needed to win. This team reminds me of the 2017 team when we had a core of juniors and some young kids.”
Legend turned the title game in its favor in the fifth inning by scoring five runs using the long ball against a Columbine team that it beat early in the season.
Kaylynn English belted a solo homer. Emma Harrington followed with a two-run HR and then Afton Armijo added another two-run circuit clout.
Starting pitcher Cameron Ponich for the Titans allowed five hits, didn’t issue a walk and struck out 12 batters.
“We came into this tournament with the mindset that we have to play like we have all season,” said catcher Emma Harrington. “That’s what got us through this tournament. It means so much to me. I don’t know how it will feel later. It’s crazy. It hasn’t settled in yet.”
Emma Harrington pointed to the fifth inning as the turning point.
“That inning really set us apart from the other team,” she said. “It got our energy up and the confidence in ourselves. That was the breaking point. We understood we had already played them and we could win but we had to treat it like a new game. We had to come in with a new, fresh mindset.”
Lutheran, the state runners-up last year to Eaton in its first season as a varsity softball program, had the same mindset as it had all year.
The Lions outscored four opponents in this year’s state tournament, 52-3, and held a 388-23 scoring advantage over the opposition during the season.
Going 46-2 in two season is a good way to establish a softball program, and the school has plans to move to Class 4A next year.
“In two seasons we’ve lost to one 3A team and that was in the championship,so we have two losses as a program for the first two years. That’s amazing,” said Lutheran coach Glen Maestretti.
“We put a lot of pressure on our offense in this tournament to get our pitcher Hailey (Maestretti) off the mound. We only have the one pitcher. She’s had an amazing year. She showed everybody today.”
Hailey Maestretti allowed only two hits for the Lions, who gave up two runs in the top of the first inning. However, the Lions scored once in the bottom of the first and added four runs in the second, third and fourth innings to make this another mercy rule outcome.
“It feels great to win,” said Hailey Maestretti. “I loved how hard we worked this season. It feels great to come out on top. Yeah, last year was on our minds. This year was going to be ours.
“We felt very motivated through the whole tournament, feeling it was something bigger than ourselves. We took each step, each pitch, each game.”
In other state tournament games involving South Metro teams, Horizon, of Thornton, downed Castle View, of Castle Rock, 5-3 in the first round, and Columbine trimmed Highlands Ranch school Rock Canyon 4-2. Mountain Vista, of Highlands Ranch, ousted Smoky Hill, of Aurora, 13-9, but dropped a 4-2 decision to defending champion Fossil Ridge, of Fort Collins.
Legend beat Cherokee Trail 10-3, outlasted Broomfield 2-0 and beat top-seeded Horizon 7-2 in the semifinals.
In the Class 4A tournament, Ponderosa, of Parker, opened with a 12-6 win over Frederick but then lost 6-1 to Riverdale Ridge, of Thornton.
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