State 4A softball: Frederick's run ends in semifinals

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AURORA – Frederick’s run through the state 4A softball tournament consisted of three familiar opponents and a berth in the semifinals.

But that’s where the season came to an end, thanks to the eventual state champions from Lutheran High School. LHS beat the Golden Eagles 8-2 at Aurora Sports Park Oct. 22.

First things first

The Golden Eagles rallied to beat Golden 5-3 in the tournament opener Oct. 21 at Aurora Sports Park. The two teams met twice last year in the regional round of the playoffs at Riverdale Ridge.

The Demons had a 3-1 lead in the third inning at the state tournament before Frederick rallied for the win.  Carlie Nagy had two hits and drove in two of Frederick’s runs. Alexandra Kennedy had a pair of base hits. Golden’s Dani Philip had two of her team’s six hits. Teagan Sherman and Lyla Wilde got credit for the RBIs.

“The Achilles’ tendon of this team is when we give freebies up,” Frederick coach Roger Dufour said. “We gave up too many freebies early. The team responded. This team has been very resilient. They believed in themselves and were able to put some runs up.”

Frederick relied on a season-long strength – the late innings – to produce the win. FHS scored a single run in the third, added two in the fourth and one more run in the fifth. Nagy pitched 4 1/3 innings and allowed four hits while striking out three.

“I’ve got to give Carlie a lot of credit. She’s done this four times this year, coming in as that second pitcher. She didn’t give up a lot of runs. She gave us a chance,” Dufour said.

Riverdale Ridge Part 3

Frederick’s quarterfinal round opponent was a familiar one – Riverdale Ridge. The Golden Eagles and the Ravens played twice during the regular season. RRHS won both. Dufour thought it would be hard for Riverdale Ridge to win a third time.

And he was right.

Three Ravens’ errors in the fourth inning gave Frederick five unearned runs and sent the Golden Eagles on their way to the semifinals with a 10-6 win.

“That’s some advice I got a long time ago from some of the great coaches I was able to play for and coach with. I conveyed that same message to our girls,” Dufour said. “It’s time we beat them. It’s the first time we’ve beaten them since they came into that league. I felt they feared us a little bit. Third time is a charm.”

Nagy contributed three hits and three RBIs to the cause. Lani Davis had two hits and an RBI. Kennedy added a hit and an RBI. Aubree Davis had a base hit and drove in two runs for Riverdale Ridge. Madyson Ortiz had two hits.

“Being familiar with an opponent gives you the edge. I don’t think Brynn (RRHS starting pitcher Brynn Trujillo)  was up to her normal standards. She’s a good enough player she can control the game,” Dufour said. “At this time of the year, it’s survive and advance .. and you have to have a little luck. Those things went our way.”

A rematch with Lutheran

Frederick and Lutheran paired up in the semifinals Oct. 22, and the Lions led from start to finish en route to the 8-2 win. Malea Yoxsimer’s two-run single opened the scoring in the first inning, part of a three-run rally.

“We had a couple of plays we didn’t quite execute,” Dufour said. “We gave them that three-run cushion right away. When you’re down to four teams, that’s tough to do. We were able to put a couple back on. That’s a good team. You can’t give them anything.”

FHS scored its runs in the third inning. Hailey Simmons walked and came around to score when the Lions threw Makenzie Sais’ base hit into the outfield. Sais scored as well. The Lions countered with five runs in the fourth inning. Meredith Barnhart had a two-run double, and Mackenzy Glenn added a two-run single.

Frederick left the bases loaded in the fourth inning and stranded two more in the fifth.

“I’m very proud,” Dufour. “Last year, she (LHS pitcher Hailey Maestretti) had a dozen or more strikeouts against us. They run-ruled us. We hit her hard at times., But I give her a lot of credit. She deals a lot of ground balls, a lot of pop-ups.”

In conclusion

The Golden Eagles were 24-4 and finished second to Riverdale Ridge in the Longs Peak League.

“To get to the final four with his group, I’m very proud of them,” Dufour said. “We have a goal to get down here every year. We wanted to get past that first round. It’s been a couple of seasons. It wasn’t a surprise. If we could get by Golden, I was confident about playing Riverdale a third time. I’m very glad we made it to the last day. We didn’t make it to the last game, but I’m very proud of these girls.”

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