The conclusion of the softball season takes place in Aurora, as 16 qualifiers in three classifications come to the Aurora Sports Park Oct. 21-22 to decide state titles.
The Class 5A tournament includes a pair of Aurora qualifiers in Grandview and Cherokee Trail, which ended up on opposite sides of the bracket as the Nos. 7 and 8 seeds, respectively.
The Cougars (17-8) take the field in the first set of games scheduled for 10 a.m. Oct. 21 at Complex C against ninth-seeded Ponderosa (21-5) with the winner going against the winner between No. 1 Columbine (24-1) and No. 16 Lakewood (10-16) at 2:30 p.m.
Four more first round games are scheduled for 12:15 p.m. with the Wolves (18-7) taking on 10th-seeded Broomfield in one of them. The winner of that contests plays again at 2:30 p.m. against either No. 2 Douglas County (23-2) or No. 15 Legacy (15-11).
Semifinals begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 22 with the 5A state championship game scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tickets can only be purchased online.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 CLASS 5A SOFTBALL PREVIEW CAPSULES
No. 9 Ponderosa (21-5) vs. No. 8 Cherokee Trail (17-8), 10 a.m.
BREAKDOWN: Cherokee Trail qualified for the state tournament as the champions of the Region 5 tournament, which saw it defeat Fruita Monument (18-16) and Valor Christian (11-8) in back-to-back contests. Ponderosa — which moved up from Class 4A to 5A this season — got in as the second team out of the Region 6 tournament it hosted at Metzler Ranch Community Park as it rebounded from a 3-0 loss to Grandview with a 7-5 victory over Loveland with the second state berth at stake. The Mustangs appeared in the 4A state tournament last season where they won their first game and lost to Riverdale Ridge in the quarterfinals.
PONDEROSA: Coach Mark Roberts’ Mustangs finished as the third-place team in the Continental League during the regular season, dropping only two contests (to state qualifiers Douglas County (the No. 2 seed) and No. 3 Legend) and come into state with nine wins in its last 10 games. Ponderosa played seven games against teams that qualified for the state tournament and finished 3-4 in those games. …The Mustangs have scored 10 or more runs nine times and averaged nearly eight runs per game on the season, while they have allowed a shade under three per contest. …Junior Olivia Trombley has logged two-thirds of the innings on the mound with a 13-5 record and 151 strikeouts in 114 1/3 innings, while senior Lauren Stucky has an 8-0 record in 10 appearances. Offensively, Trombley and Stucky are also Ponderosa’s top hitters with averages of .605 and .517 respectively, while Trombley has homered 11 times and has a team-high 44 RBI. Junior Jasi Martinez has seven home runs (plus a team-high 14 doubles) and leads the teams in runs scored with 33 and is second in RBI with 35.
CHEROKEE TRAIL: Coach Caley Mitchell’s Cougars play in the state tournament for the third straight season and fourth time in the past seven seasons and won the state championship in 2016 and appeared in the final in 2018 and 2020 as well. They lost to Legend in the first round of last season’s tournament. …Cherokee Trail finished as the runner-up in the Centennial League and dealt fellow state qualifier (No. 7 Grandview) its only loss of the league season. The Cougars played eight games against teams that qualified for state tournament and finished 3-5 in those games. …Cherokee Trail has averaged nearly nine runs per game as it scored in double figures 11 times (including five of its last six games) and allowed nearly 6.5. …The Cougars have used three pitchers regularly during the season, but junior Cayman Lightner has pitched over 100 innings and pitched a complete game to clinch the state tournament berth. Offensively, junior Addi Krei has hit .494 on the season and leads the team in hits (42) and runs scored (34) and is joined over .400 by junior Chiara Pryor, who is hitting .413 with 32 runs scored and 20 RBI. Sophomore Kennedy Brian paces the team in RBI with 31 (plus a .395 batting average), while Lightner has a team-high six home runs and is second with 25 RBI.
WINNER GETS: The Ponderosa-Cherokee Trail winner advances to the quarterfinals against either No. 1 Columbine (24-1) or No. 16 Lakewood (10-16). Both teams lost to Columbine in the regular season, while neither played Lakewood.
No. 10 Broomfield vs. No. 7 Grandview (18-7), 12:15 p.m.
BREAKDOWN: Grandview earned its way into the 5A state tournament for the first time since 2015 as the champion of the Region 6 tournament, which saw the Wolves deal Loveland a 16-6 loss and then defeated host Ponderosa 3-0. Broomfield, meanwhile, advanced as the second team out of the Region 2 tournament it hosted as it defeated Rock Canyon 12-2 in the final game. The Eagles topped Liberty in its opener before it was upset 18-3 by Horizon for the first berth in the state tournament. …The programs meet in the 5A state tournament for the first time since 2014, when Grandview defeated Broomfield in the semifinals on its way to the state championship.
BROOMFIELD: Coach Kale Gilmore’s Eagles will appear in the 5A state tournament for the third straight season, but will look to get past the quarterfinals, which have stopped them in each of the past two seasons. Broomfield made it to the state championship game in 2016 where it lost to Cherokee Trail. …The Eagles finished as the runner-up in the Front Range League behind state qualifier Erie, the No. 4 overall seed. They played eight games against teams that qualified for the 5A state tournament and went 4-4 in those games. …Broomfield averages just over eight runs per game (with nine double-digit efforts) and allows 3.5 per contest. …Senior Breeana Fiala and freshman Ireland Heer have combined to pitch nearly every inning for the Eagles with Fiala credited with 12 wins and Heer nine, along with a team-low 1.71 ERA. Offensively, senior Caylie Eiguren leads the team in nearly every offensive category as a .469 hitter with 29 RBI. Fiala is a .449 hitter and freshman Kiley Wheaton has hit at a .400 clip and has a team-high 36 runs scored. Heer and fellow freshman Lauren Martinez share the team lead with three home runs.
GRANDVIEW: Coach Liz Carter’s Wolves have ended a state tournament drought that stretches back to 2015, which was the last of three straight appearances that included the 2014 state championship plus a second round loss to Pomona in 2015 after a first round loss in 2013. …Grandview won the Centennial League championship with only one loss (to fellow state qualifier Cherokee Trail, the No. 8 seed) in 12 league contests. The Wolves played eight games against teams that qualified for the 5A state tournament and went 3-5 in those games. …Grandview has tallied 10 or more runs 10 times and average just over eight runs per contest, while it also has surrendered 3.6 per contest (helped by seven shutouts, including four in the last five games). …Senior Makayla Valle has pitched the majority of the innings for Grandview and owns a 13-3 record with a 2.16 ERA and 149 strikeouts in 107 innings. She has allowed a total of six runs and strikeout 42 over her last 32 innings, spanning five games. Offensively, junior Kristin Gallego has slugged a team-high six home runs and paces the team in batting average (.545), hits (48), RBI (34) and runs scored (28), while freshman Sasha Kennedy has been outstanding at the plate with a .425 batting average and 27 runs scored, while she is also one of nine different players with double-digit RBI as she has knocked in 16 runs. Valle has 19 RBI and junior Peytann Weiland has driven in 18 runs and sophomore Maya Sprague 17, while sophomore Brooklyn Heil has crossed the plate 27 times and senior Carmela Tejada has swiped 15 bases.
WINNER GETS: The Broomfield-Grandview winner moves into the quarterfinals to play either No. 2 Douglas County or No. 15 Legacy. Broomfield lost to Douglas County (6-3) and defeated Legacy (3-2) in the regular season, while Grandview also lost to Douglas County (3-1).