Sabercats earn berth in state softball playoffs

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Castle View put together back-to-back wins Oct. 12 that included a 5-4 win over Continental League rival Legend to capture the regional softball championship, which also means the team is headed for the state playoffs.

The Sabercats have a six-day break before entering the state playoffs as the No. 11 seed. In their bracket, Castle View, 13-8 on the season, will play No. 5 seed Eaglecrest, a team that comes in with a 19-2 season record.

The first round and quarterfinals of the 16-team state tournament will be played Oct. 18, with the semifinals and finals set for Oct. 19. All games will be played on the diamonds at the Aurora Sports Complex, 19300 E. Colfax Ave.

On Oct. 12, Castle View joined Legend, Pomona and Rocky Mountain in the Region 5 tournament in Parker.

The Sabercats won the opener against Rocky Mountain 6-3 and then faced Legend in the game for one of the region's two spots in the state tournament.

Legend got a run in the bottom of the first and Morgan Duncan tied it up in the top of the second with a solo home run. The Sabercats went up 3-1 in the top of the third, but Legend scored three in the bottom of the inning to take a 4-3 lead.

Castle View tied the score 4-4 in the top of the fifth. In the top of the sixth, the Sabercats loaded the bases with no outs and scored one run that proved to be the difference as they won, 5-4.

“This game obviously came out well for us,” Caley Mitchell, Castle View coach, said after the game. “We played Legend earlier in the season and lost to them 1-0 in extra innings,”

Mitchell said her team struggled to hit the ball consistently early in the season, but it got better and really came on strong against Legend.

“I think the strength of our season this year has been, when our pitcher is on, the other teams don't get many hits,” the coach said. “Our roster includes five seniors, four freshmen and a mix of underclassmen. Our seniors have provided strong leadership for us.”

She pointed to No. 1 pitcher Savannah Heebner as one of the senior leaders.

“I've started most of our game and it has been really fun to be part of this season,” Heebner said. “I've been pitching competitively for about 3½ years. Right now, my best pitch is my rise ball and my change-up. Also, I throw a good fastball and not too many hitters can catch up with it.”

Heebner already has plans to continue playing softball after graduation, as she has made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Houston on a full-ride softball scholarship.

Another senior leader is catcher Morgan Trujillo.

“I started playing softball about the eighth grade and my dad urged me to be the catcher,” Trujillo said. “I tried cheerleading, didn't like it, so I looked for a close-knit team sport. Once I started playing softball, I fell in love with it.”

She said she also fell in love with catching when she moved into that position.

“Catching is fun because I am calling pitches and involved in every play,” she said. “It is fun catching Savannah. The hardest pitch she throws for me to catch is her drop ball. It is very wicked.”

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