Softball: Fort Lupton ready to roll into postseason

League title means berth in regional playoffs this weekend


If you want a point of unanimity, visit with the Fort Lupton High School softball team.
The Bluedevils, winners of their last four games in the regular season and two-time Colorado League champions, agreed the start to the season was slow and the finish was pretty good.
"The season got off to a little bit of a rough start with our dynamic," said shortstop Genevieve Hunt. "We've been working as a team lately. The intensity has gotten better. We've been practicing hard."
Infielder Reagan Mewbourn said the start was "a little shaky."
"We didn't clock together well as a team," she said. "We've figured it out now. Last year was such a different year. We had a pretty decent time with only 16 games last year. We had to fight back for it and play other teams. That set everybody on edge."
Coach Albert Vasquez, who won his 100th game as Bluedevils' coach this season, said he wanted to start the season with a tough schedule.
"I wanted to see where we were at the beginning of the year," he said. "I'm a firm believer that it's not how we start, it's how we finish. Right now, we're clicking on all cylinders."
Hunt said the team began to realize its goals.
"With that in mind, we realized we have to keep pushing. The beginning is always rocky. We play with comp teams, then we come to back and have to get things to gel," she said.
Sammy Gonzales, who was the winning pitcher in Fort Lupton's 16-2 triumph over Valley High School Oct. 9, said position changing was part of the early season issues.
"We just missed it (a normal season) a lot. We were eager to get out there, but we were playing for ourselves," she said. "We discussed the idea that it's better to work as a team."
"We just didn't communicate," said FLHS catcher Julissa Galicia. "Communication is a big part of the game. My favorite game was the Boulder game (Oct. 7). it clicked that we are finally there. It was a league game (a Colorado League title game that FLHS won 6-5 in Boulder)."
Vasquez and his staff have been focusing on hitting this season.
"That hitting phase of the game has come along for us," Vasquez said. "We've been working with speed and velocity. there are times when we pull away from that,. This year, we've been more consistent."
To hear the players talk, the sky is the limit, especially with the communication piece in place.
"We can do it," Mewbourn said. "It's a team effort. If we're all there for each other, we can get something done. We had a moment where we realized something needed to change."
"We had to communicate better and back each other up," Hunt said. "If we got our heads on straight, I knew we could do it (win a conference title). We have a great team this year. We're all talented. We've got a real good shot (in the playoffs)."
"We weren't having a lot of issues. it was just little stuff," Gonzales said. "We're going to make it very far in regionals. Our goal is to win state. We can do that if we play as a team. We need positive attitudes. That will help us."
The regional round brackets are due Oct. 11. The tournament is Saturday, Oct. 16. FLHS has to win one of a possible two games to qualify for the state tournament for the third year in a row.
"We realized it's a fun game." Mewbourn said. "We have a reputation to uphold. We have to keep winning to show everybody. We can do it. We can make it through regionals and make it to state."
"Our team has bonded well together," Galicia said. "We're communicating, especially on the field but off the field too. We didn't communicate until we were scrambling. I've been playing with some of these girls since I was a freshman, so I'm excited to see where we can go. We can go as far as it will take us."


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