Fort Lupton High School’s softball team returned to the state 3A playoffs this week. The Bluedevils first-round game is against La Junta at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7, after press time.
The Bluedevils (15-1) also took a piece of the Colorado League regular-season title, a first title of any softball sort in school history. FLHS routed Englewood 23-0 in three innings to take its piece of the crown Oct. 1.
“We knew we had to win our game to become the league champs for the first time in school history,” said catcher Julissa Galicia. “We had to come out and take care of business and shut them down right away, and we did.”
Fort Lupton did so rather emphatically. The Bluedevils batted around twice in the first inning and piled up 18 runs along the way. The Bluedevils picked up just seven hits in the game two of which were off the bat of sophomore Gen Hunt. She and Rozzie Mendoza finished with a team-high three RBIs. Arianna Barron had a base hit and two RBIs. So did Arianna Pacheco. FLHS took advantage of 16 walks and three fielding errors in the lopsided victory.
“Thursday’s game against Englewood for the league championship was a good representation of how hard the whole team has worked to get here,” Hunt said. “We showed up ready to hit and to back it up with defense as well.”
If that wasn’t enough, junior pitcher Taylor Fells threw a no-hitter. She walked the first batter of the game, then struck out the side the next three innings to pick up the win.
“It was a complete team effort. We executed and did what we needed to do. I am very proud to be part of this team,” Galicia said.
La Junta entered postseason play with an 11-5 record. Sophomore Alizeh Frazier leads the offense with a .326 batting average. Madison Wiley takes care of most of the pitching chores. She has an earned-run average of 3.09 spread out over 90 innings of work. The winner faces either Wiley or Eaton high schools in the quarterfinals Thursday, Oct. 8.
“Our team has bonded very well this year and that has help us with our success in going 15-1,” Galicia said. “We feel that we can trust each other and we have never given up during tough games. Our toughness we have played with will help us this year during state. “I’m excited to see how far we can go.”
FLHS enters postseason as the eighth seed in the class 3A tournament.
“It also reflects on the teaching of our coaches over the years because it definitely didn’t happen overnight,” Hunt said. “Although it’s been a process for all of us, we’re not done improving yet. We’ve been taught to strive for perfection and achieve excellence along the way and that the success of your team should come before your own because individual success will only get you so far.
“The small things such as leadership, communication and focus have brought us all a long way,” she added. “Most of the girls on the team have been playing together for years, and I believe that plays an important role in how we perform together. It’s not always been easy, but it’s always been worth it.”