LIMON – Fort Lupton High School’s softball team made it to the state playoffs for a fifth straight time over the weekend.
The only thing different about this trip is the Bluedevils are regional champions. FLHS captured its first regional crown by beating Delta 9-3 and by beating the host Limon Badgers 12-0 Oct. 16.
FLHS coach Albert Vasquez was happy with the win against Delta – the win that put the Bluedevils into the state tournament -- but not with the aesthetics.
“As a coach, you always want to have high expectations. There’s a certain way you want to win,” said Vasquez. “A win is a win, and we’re in the dance.”
Shortstop Gen Hunt had two RBIs. One came on a triple in the first inning to drive home courtesy runner Janessa Martinez. She also drove in a run in the second inning when she was hit by a pitch. Starting pitcher Sammy Gonzales scored on that play.
Hunt added a double and scored a run in the sixth inning.
“They were deep in the count. I was thinking inside pitch, and they were outside,” she said. “I hit both of them to the right side. They were pretty down the middle .. just a little bit outside. But that’s my favorite spot.”
Jill Robinson had two hits and two RBIs for the Panthers. Gonzales struck out 11 and scattered eight hits en route to the complete game win.
“The pitching was consistent,” Vasquez said. “She did a great job of throwing to spots and not trying to throw it through the bats. I was proud of how she hit her spots. The hitting was OK. That’s one of the things we’ve been doing really well the past two weeks. Today, we could have done a little better job of taking the inside half away. We put up nine runs and put them away.”
The Panthers loaded the bases in the first inning after a walk and a singles by Tatem Miller and Juelz Sandoval. Gonzales retired the next three to keep Delta off the board.
Hunt said the Bluedevils fought through that rough start.
“After that, we started picking things up with our hitting and cleaning up our fielding,” Hunt said. “The teamwork was there. We communicated pretty well.”
FLHS rolled over the host Badgers 12-0 in the regional championship game. Taylor Fells threw a three-hitter and struck out 10. She also added two base hits, as did Gonzales. Julissa Galicia recorded two stolen bases, too.
“We like to see them have that killer instinct,” Vasquez said. “That’s something we work on is taking the inside half away from teams.”
The state tournament begins Friday, Oct. 22, at Aurora Sports Park, East Colfax Avenue and Tower Road. Pairings were due out Oct. 18, after press time.
“I’m confident that we’re going to work together well, do our best and show up,” Hunt said.
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