AURORA | The Smoky Hill softball team broke out the big sticks Saturday afternoon in order to secure its trip to the Class 5A state tournament.
Down to their last life at the Region 2 tournament after losing to Fossil Ridge in the championship game, the eighth-seeded Buffaloes exploded for seven runs in the first inning and six more in the second inning on the way to a 13-1 shortened victory over No. 24 Fruita Monument.
Sophomore Izzy Giroux cranked a grand slam as part of a home run outburst that included bombs by senior Cameron Lyons, sophomore Kenedy Sandoval and freshman Eliana Trujillo and sophomore Amrajie Bass also homered as coach B.J. Kingsbaker’s Buffs won at the same Aurora Sports Park complex they will return to for the Oct. 25-26 state tournament.
Giroux finished with four RBI, while Bass and Trujillo had two apiece to lead the way for Smoky Hill (22-4), which was the lone Aurora team to advance out of regionals. Grandview, the No. 27 seed, lost two tight games in Region 6 play and 31st-seeded Cherokee Trail got knocked out in the second qualifying game in Region 8.
Sophomore Delaney Farnsworth worked three of the four innings for the victory.
Smoky Hill opened the day with a decisive 17-5 victory over No. 25 Fountain-Fort Carson, powered by a home run and four RBI from Yasmine Ybarra, while fellow senior Cameron Lyons had three hits and drove in a pair of runs. Farnsworth also had three hits and Giroux plated two runs.
The Buffaloes fell victim to the powerful bats of Fossil Ridge — a 5-0 winner over Fruita Monument in its first game — in the district championship game, as the SaberCats homered twice among 14 hits (and took advantage of six Smoky Hill errors) to make state for a third straight season.
Bass gave Smoky Hill a shot of life when she cranked out a three-run shot in a four-run sixth inning rally, but Fossil Ridge limited the damage and countered with a run of their own in the top of the seventh inning to finish off the victory.
Both Fossil Ridge and Smoky Hill will find out where they end up in the 5A state bracket when it is released Monday by the Colorado High School Activities Association. The SaberCats will get a top-eight seed as one of the regional champions, while the best the Buffaloes can do is No. 9.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2019 CLASS 5A REGION 2 SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT
Oct. 19 at Aurora Sports Park
Game 1: NO. 8 SMOKY HILL 17, No. 25 Fountain-Fort Carson 5; Game 2: No. 9 Fossil Ridge 5, No. 24 Fruita Monument 0; Game 3: No. 9 Fossil Ridge 9, NO. 8 SMOKY HILL 4 (Fossil Ridgequalifies for 5A state tournament); Game 4: No. 24 Fruita Monument 13, No. 25 Fountain-Fort Carson 6; Game 5: NO. 8 SMOKY HILL 13, No. 24 Fruita Monument 1 (SMOKY HILL qualifies for 5A state tournament)
— Full Class 5A regional scoreboard and state qualifiers, here