Cherokee Trail’s Brooke Scott jumps in the air at home plate as she waits for teammate Caitlin Cushenbery (26), who homered, in the sixth inning of the Cougars’ 5-1 win over Chatfield in a Class 5A state softball semifinal on Oct. 10, 2020. The Cougars moved into the afternoon state championship game. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | The Cherokee Trail softball team has conclusively proven its No. 10 seed coming into the Class 5A state tournament was an anomaly, as the Cougars will play for the state title Saturday afternoon.

Junior catcher Caitlin Cushenbery homered twice and drove in three runs and junior pitcher Jenna Medhus held down a potent lineup for third-seeded Chatfield in a 5-1 Cherokee Trail victory at the Aurora Sports Park.

Coach Caley Mitchell’s Cougars, who will appear in the state championship game for the third time in the past five seasons and look to win their first state title since 2016, face fourth-seeded Fossil Ridge in a game scheduled for 1:30 p.m. The SaberCats — who knocked Cherokee Trail’s Centennial League rival, Smoky Hill, out in the quarterfinals — topped eighth-seeded Grand Junction Central 4-0 in the other semifinal.

Cherokee Trail earned its trip to the final on the strength of a four-run rally in the sixth inning, which came after they left runners stranded in four straight innings against Chargers starter Isabelle DiNapoli.

The Cougars’ rally began with a bunt single by junior Brooke Scott, who came home when Cushenbery launched a drive that made it over the fence in left field. Medhus singled and scored on a groundball by freshman Addison Krei, who advanced on an error and scored on sophomore Jenna Fullmer’s single.

Chatfield pushed a run across in the sixth, but a runner was called out for leaving first base early on a steal attempt that short-circuited a rally.

Cushenbery’s crushed solo shot in the seventh inning restored a four-run cushion for Cherokee Trail.

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports

2020 CLASS 5A STATE SOFTBALL SEMIFINAL

(10) CHEROKEE TRAIL 5, (3) CHATFIELD 1

Score by innings:

Cher. Trail 000 004 1 — 5  9  1

Chatfield   000 001 0 — 1  6  3

CHEROKEE TRAIL (ab-r-h-e)

Ryleigh Cruz 2b 4-0-1-0, Brooke Scott cf 4-1-1-0, Caitlin Cushenbery c 4-2-2-3, Jenna Medhus p 3-1-3-0, Kelsey Bell ss 4-0-0-0, Addison Krei 3b 4-1-0-1, Jaelyn Martinez lf 3-0-0-0, Jenna Fullmer dp 3-0-2-1, Charia Pryor rf 2-0-1-0. Totals 31-5-10-5. Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Jenna Medhus (W, 7-6-1-0-1-5).

CHATFIELD (ab-r-h-e)

Peyton Shepard cf 3-0-2-1, Courtney Bidwell 3b 3-0-1-0, Madison Shepard ss 3-0-1-0, Isabelle DiNapoli p 3-0-1-0, Kailey Horton c 3-0-1-0, Avery Rohlman 1b 3-0-0-0, Brooklyn Levin 2-0-0-0, Abigal Washco 3-0-0-0, Dakota DiPaola 3-1-0-0, Aubrey Henshaw cr 0-0-0-0, Lily Prielipp cr 0-0-0-0, Jameson Brignac cr 0-0-0-0. Totals 26-1-6-1. Pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so): Isabelle DiNapoli (L, 7-10-5-5-2-4).

HR — Cherokee Trail: Caitlin Cushenbery 2 (1 on in 6th, solo in 7th).