BROOMFIELD | At first, Cherokee Trail softball coach Caley Mitchell wanted to finish Thursday’s Class 5A state quarterfinal with Broomfield when it was halted by darkness.
Turns out, the change up — the second time the Cougars had a game spill over into multiple days this season — worked to their advantage. Mitchell’s team came out firing Friday with a two-run rally in the top of the ninth inning and junior Jenna Medhus closed it out with a perfect bottom of the inning for a 7-5 win over the second-seeded Eagles.
Tenth-seeded Cherokee Trail moved into a 10:30 a.m. Saturday semifinal matchup with No. 3 Chatfield, which had been waiting to know its opponent since beating No. 6 Lakewood in another quarterfinal.
“Now looking back on it, I’m fine with it,” Mitchell said of picking up the game. “It happened to us earlier with Smoky Hill and I just think you lose the vibe of the game and we had been playing really well. …It was what it was and we just showed up super pumped up. I guess the momentum worked out.”
The restarted game against Smoky Hill didn’t go well — a one-run game turned into a seven-run loss in just one inning when the game restarted — but this time it went completely in Cherokee Trail’s favor.
The Cougars had the top of their batting order coming up when play was stopped Thursday due to fading light and they did damage just like they did the previous day.
Junior leadoff hitter Ryleigh Cruz sparked the rally with an infield hit and junior Brooke Scott also singled to put two on base and the Eagles elected to walk the dangerous Medhus to load the bases with one out.
Freshman Addison Krei broke the tie with a run-scoring single and senior Kelsey Bell followed with another base hit for an insurance run.
“It felt very good, I just try to keep telling myself it’s just another at-bat and not make the game bigger than what it is,” Bell said. “It’s easier going out on the field up two runs instead of one.”
Broomfield got the tying run in the bottom of the seventh against Medhus the previous day, but she closed it out this time by retiring all three hitters she faced, punctuating the victory with a strike out, her sixth in nine innings of work.
Cherokee Trail moves into the semifinals for the third time in the past six seasons. The Cougars won the state championship in 2016 and finished as runner-up in 2018.
A win over Chatfield would send Cherokee Trail to a 1:30 p.m. state championship game at the Aurora Sports Park against either No. 8 Grand Junction Central or No. 4 Fossil Ridge. Spectators are limited
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
CLASS 5A SOFTBALL QUARTERFINAL
(10) CHEROKEE TRAIL 7, (2) BROOMFIELD 5
Score by innings (r-h-e):
Cherokee Trail 200 021 002 — 7 14 1
Broomfield 201 001 100 — 5 7 1
WP — Cherokee Trail: Jenna Medhus (9 IP, 7 H, 6 K). Cherokee Trail hitting: Kelsey Bell 2 hits, 2 RBI; Caitlin Cushenbery 2 hits; Cayman Lightner 2 hits; Jenna Medhus 2 RBI