Legend won its second straight Class 5A softball championship, but it wasn't easy. The Titans polished off top-seeded and 2016 state champ Cherokee Trail, 8-4, in the state title game on Oct. 20 at …
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Legend won its second straight Class 5A softball championship, but it wasn't easy.
The Titans polished off top-seeded and 2016 state champ Cherokee Trail, 8-4, in the state title game on Oct. 20 at Aurora Sports Park to join the list of back-to-back state champs.
However, on Sept. 4 this season, the Titans were 3-9 and didn't appear to have the makings of a repeat champion because they were not hitting, pitching or playing well.
“At that point, no, I didn't think we could repeat,” said senior third baseman Payton Lincavage. “We just came together as a team and found what we needed to find to win again.”
The win for the sixth-seeded Titans over Cherokee Trail was their 17th straight victory and they joined 10 other schools in Colorado history to repeat as state softball champions.
“The way we started, I would say yes, this championship was better,” said Legend coach Kristen Shirk. “To go on a 17-game win streak to where we are now, starting off 3-9, is pretty sweet. Nobody saw us here but us. We faced a lot of adversity. It took us 12 games to figure out our lineup and learn how to play together.
“Definitely our schedule figured into the start... We made errors and we faced that adversity where some teams go 20-2 but don't face the adversity we did. The girls bought in, they never gave up. I owe a lot to our seniors. We have five seniors, the best senior class we've had. They brought everybody together and they weren't going home losers.”
In 2017, the Titans had to come back through the consolation bracket to gain a berth into the state tournament and were seeded 10th and not considered a title contender. Legend, however, won the state title with a 9-3 victory over Fossil Ridge.
This season after the sluggish start, Legend wasn't consider a favorite, but played like champions.
“We were approaching it one game at a time,” said senior pitcher Zoey LeCompte. “I love these girls and I'm so happy we got through it twice. We knew the level of competition and we had to come together and get it done. As a team, we performed the best we ever could and I couldn't ask for better players, better teammates or better coaching. It was awesome. We did what we needed to do.”
LeCompte was the starting pitcher and won all games in the four state tournament contests and also had four hits, a home run and three runs batted in.
“It is so much sweeter than last year,” she added. “No one really expected us to win again. We were the underdogs. We had a rough start at the beginning but we got it together as a team, we found ourselves, found our groove and we made it.
“There were definitely expectations that we were trying to craft and meet. We kind of stepped back from those and realized what we needed to do. That was just to come together and play as a team, and we did that. ''
Legend (20-9) edged Columbine, 5-4, and topped Legacy 6-1, on Oct. 19 in the first two games of the state tournament. The Titans eliminated Grand Junction Central, 8-3, in the Oct. 20 semifinals as Lincavage had three hits, three RBIs and sophomore Bella Mumford delivered 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief.
In the title game, Cherokee Trail actually outhit the Titans, 8-7. The Cougars edged Legend, 13-12, in eight innings during the Titans' early season swoon but the Titans overcame an 1-0 first inning deficit and pulled away in the championship game.
Senior Liv Bradley went 2-for-2 with an RBI, LeCompte drove in two runs with a single, Lincavage had an RBI single and junior Lauren Griggs belted a two-run homer to stake the Titans to a 4-1 lead in the fourth inning.
“That home run was amazing,” said Griggs. “It created the momentum that we all could carry throughout the game. The state title was always the end goal. We knew we definitely had the potential and we definitely knew this was the place we were going to be.
“We just started rough but that just helped bring us together as a team to achieve this goal. It was tough to repeat but we all worked hard and together to make this happen.”
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