AURORA | Four city schools — all from the Centennial League — earned their way into the Class 5A softball postseason and learned where they fit into the playoff picture Sunday.
When the Colorado High School Activities Association released the 32-team bracket for the tournament, Grandview, Cherokee Trail, Eaglecrest and Smoky Hill were included in regional play set for Oct. 17.
Two teams from each of the eight four-team regional tournaments, which have a double-elimination format, punch a ticket to the 5A state tournament Oct. 23-24 at the Aurora Sports Park.
Defending 5A state champion Grandview (13-6), which capped the regular season with a 3-1 win over Cherokee Trail that wrapped up a second straight Centennial League title, comes into the postseason with the No. 6 seed and hosting duties that go to the top eight seeds.
Coach Dave Thies’ Wolves will play host to a tournament that includes 11th-seeded Rocky Mountain (14-5), No. 22 Pine Creek (12-7) and No. 27 Dakota Ridge (11-8) at the Aurora Sports Park, the same venue they played at in regionals last season due to field conditions.
Grandview plays Dakota Ridge at 10 a.m., the same time as Rocky Mountain faces Pine Creek, with winners set to play at 12:15 p.m. for the first berth in the state tournament. The two losers of the opening games also play at 12:15 p.m., with the winner playing the loser of the championship game for the second state berth.
The time schedule is the same for each of the other regional tournaments.
Aurora’s odds of at least one state qualifier out of Region 2 are pretty good, as ninth-seeded Cherokee Trail and No. 25 Smoky Hill make up half the field of the tournament set to be played in Westminster.
Coach Caley Mitchell’s Cougars (15-4) — who had an 11-game winning streak snapped with the loss to Grandview — take on No. 24 ThunderRidge (14-5) at 10 a.m., at the same time coach Mark Siemer’s Buffs (12-7) take on host and eighth-seeded Mountain Range (17-2).
Smoky Hill makes its return to the postseason for the first time in 10 seasons.
Should the two Aurora teams meet, it would be the third time they’ve played, with the Cougars holding a 2-0 edge over the Buffs after a 17-6 win on Sept. 19 and a 10-5 victory on Sept. 26. Neither Cherokee Trail nor Smoky Hill has faced either ThunderRidge or Mountain Range this season.
Eaglecrest, which ended the regular season with a 1-0 win over Mullen in 10 innings following losses to Cherokee Trail and Grandview, finished 13-6 and received the No. 10 overall seed.
Coach Yvette Hendrian’s Raptors will play in Region 7 at the Barnes Complex in Loveland, where they take on 23rd-seeded Mountain Vista (8-11), while seventh-seeded and host Loveland (16-3) meets No. 26 Chatfield (8-11).
Of the other three teams in the field, Eaglecrest has only played Chatfield and dealt the Chargers an 11-5 loss at the Erie Tournament of Champions.
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
AURORA CLASS 5A SOFTBALL REGIONALS
Oct. 17 at various sites
REGION 2 (Site TBA, Mountain Range host)
Game 1: NO. 25 SMOKY HILL (12-7) vs. No. 8 Mountain Range (17-2), 10 a.m.; Game 2: No. 24 ThunderRidge (14-5) vs. No. 9 CHEROKEE TRAIL (15-4), 10 a.m.; Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (winner qualifies for 4A state tournament), 12:15 p.m.; Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 12:15 p.m.; Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 (winner qualifiers for 4A state tournament), 2:30 p.m.
REGION 6 (Aurora Sports Park, GRANDVIEW host)
Game 1: No. 27 Dakota Ridge (11-8) vs. NO. 6 GRANDVIEW (13-6), 10 a.m.; Game 2: No. 22 Pine Creek (12-7) vs. No. 11 Rocky Mountain (14-5), 10 a.m.; Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (winner qualifies for 4A state tournament), 12:15 p.m.; Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 12:15 p.m.; Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 (winner qualifiers for 4A state tournament), 2:30 p.m.
REGION 7 (Barnes Complex, Loveland host)
Game 1: No. 26 Chatfield (8-11) vs. No. 7 Loveland (16-3), 10 a.m.; Game 2: No. 23 Mountain Vista (8-11) vs. NO. 10 EAGLECREST (13-6), 10 a.m; Game 3: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (winner qualifies for 4A state tournament), 12:15 p.m.; Game 4: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 12:15 p.m.; Game 5: Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 (winner qualifiers for 4A state tournament), 2:30 p.m.
Full 5A regional pairings and schedule, here.