Softball: Eaglecrest, Grandview ready to represent Centennial League at Continental-dominated 5A state tournament


Six Continental League teams reside in the field of the Class 5A state softball tournament, but nobody should forget about the Centennial League.

It wouldn’t be a stretch by any means for Eaglecrest and Grandview to meet in the semifinals of the bottom half of the 16-team bracket in the tournament, which is scheduled for Oct. 19-20 at the Aurora Sports Park.

The Raptors and Wolves split two games in Centennial League and would only get a rubber match if they each win their first two contests. That possibility is not far-fetched at all considering the talent and state experience both squads have to draw on.

“I would hate to play Yvette (Eaglecrest coach Hendrian) in the semifinals and one of us get knocked out, but that’s just the way it is,” said Grandview coach Dave Thies, whose 17-5 team is seeded 10th and opens against No. 7 Legend (17-5) at 12:15 p.m. Oct. 19.

“I have a lot of respect for Eaglecrest, they’ve done a really good job and they have athletes that can do some damage to some teams,” Thies continued. “They aren’t going to be easy to beat, I can tell you that.”

Indeed Hendrian’s Raptors — who came into the season as the top-ranked team in the 5A coaches/media poll— will be a tough out for a lot of reasons. All of their strengths were on display Oct. 12 in their outstanding performance at the 5A Region 2 tournament at the Brighton Youth Sports Complex.

Eaglecrest dispatched Chaparral 4-2 in its opener, then put on a virtual clinic in a 6-2 victory over Brighton, which came into the game with a sparkling 19-1 mark.

“Last year when we played this team, it was like ‘oh we’re here,  what do we do?’” Hendrian said. “This time we know what we need to do and just said ‘let’s just do it.’ They have that mentality going into next week. They know how to stay more focused and we’re a little more mature. Things look good.”

The Raptors feel much better about their approach to this season’s state tournament for a variety of reasons.

With virtually the same lineup — including many sophomores and freshmen at the time — Eaglecrest came two outs away from knocking out five-time state champion Legacy in the quarterfinals before the Lightning rallied for a walk-off win.

This season’s Eaglecrest team has finished games and come through in the clutch with regularity, which could serve them well if a similar situation arises in this season’s tournament.

“Last year was heartbreaking, but it was a great experience,” said sophomore left-handed pitcher Alexa Romero, who threw a complete game in the win over Brighton. “It’s going to be nervewracking this year, but it’s going to be fun. We’re going to go in and play every game like it’s our last.”

Romero and sophomore right-hander Sarah Bushman give Hendrian a complimentary pitching tandem that few teams at the state tournament can boast, while offensively, Eaglecrest got the bats going in their win over Brighton.

Junior Mikayla Faulkner had the big blow with a three-run triple and Eaglecrest hit the ball hard all game long against Bulldogs’ starter Melissa Rahrich, one of 5A’s best pitchers in a variety of statistical categories.

Grandview also got its bats warmed up in Region 6 play and got plenty of chances given it had to play three games to secure its spot in the state tournament. The Wolves beat Arvada West twice —sandwiched around a loss to Legacy — which didn’t exactly thrill Thies, but showed him glimpses of what his team is capable of.

Grandview — which got its first win at the state tournament since 2007 last season — has back much of its lineup from last season, with juniors Kat Maynard, Ande Troutman and Emily Supercynski, plus sophomore Loghan Thomas, hitting well at the top of the lineup.

The Wolves also have two quality pitchers to use situationally in sophomore Courtney Browne and freshman Aubrey Pickett.

“We feel pretty confident with where we ended up,” said Thies, whose team would face the winner between No. 15 Standley Lake (16-4) and No. 2 Rock Canyon (16-4) in the second round with a victory.


At Aurora Sports Park

OCT. 19 (subject to weather delays)

10 a.m.: No. 16 ThunderRidge (10-12) vs. No. 1 Douglas County (19-2)

10 a.m.: No. 9 Brighton (20-2) vs. No. 8 Loveland (15-4)

10 a.m.: No. 13 Grand Junction (17-5) vs. No. 4 Dakota Ridge (18-3)

10 a.m.: No. 12 Chatfield (13-9) vs. No. 5 Legacy (16-5)

12:15 p.m.: No. 14 Pine Creek (18-4) vs. No. 3 Fossil Ridge (20-1)

12:15 p.m.: No. 11 Castle View (13-8) vs. NO. 6 EAGLECREST (19-2)

12:15 p.m.: No. 15 Standley Lake (16-4) vs. No. 2 Rock Canyon (11-11)

12:15 p.m.: NO. 10 GRANDVIEW (17-5) vs. No. 7 Legend (17-5)

2:30 p.m.: ThunderRidge/Douglas County winner vs. Brighton/Loveland winner

2:30 p.m.: Grand Junction/Dakota Ridge winner vs. Chatfield/Legacy winner

2:30 p.m.: Pine Creek/Fossil Ridge winner vs. Castle View/EAGLECREST winner

2:30 p.m.: Standley Lake/Rock Canyon winner vs. Legend/GRANDVIEW winner

OCT. 20

Semifinals, 10 a.m.

Championship game, 1:45 p.m.

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