Cheyenne Mountain, Mesa Ridge fall in softball regionals

Photo - Katrina Robinson delivers a pitch for Mesa Ridge in Saturday's loss to Valor Christian. Photo by Lindsey Smith, The Gazette.
Katrina Robinson delivers a pitch for Mesa Ridge in Saturday's loss to Valor Christian. Photo by Lindsey Smith, The Gazette.

AURORA - It was like deja vu for the Cheyenne Mountain softball team.

Same field. Same wind. But a different opponent, and yet another second inning that just would not end.

Saturday afternoon, just as the winds picked up at the Aurora Sports Park, Cheyenne Mountain found itself stuck in another never-ending second inning, as Mountain View - a team which the Indians beat 8-5 in the first game of the day - brought run, after run across the plate for an eventual 22-1 win in the 4A Region 1 tournament, to claim a spot in the state playoffs.

Just hours before Valor Christian scored 11 runs in the second inning on the way to a 20-0 win for the region championship.

Mountain View scored 18 runs in the bottom of the second, while the Cheyenne Mountain defense struggled to adjust to the 30 mph winds whipping through the field.

The Lions, who were coming off a 16-2 win over Mesa Ridge, felt something click as they continued to field a barrage of hits off Cheyenne Mountain ace Katelynn Ralston.

“Ralston shut us down pretty well in the first game, and I knew she’d be pretty tough,” Mountain View coach Randy Felton said. “I think seeing her first helped, but there were also a lot of miscues early with the wind that gave us momentum. Those errors wouldn’t have happened on a clear day, but we have to take advantage.”

Cheyenne Mountain was credited with three errors in the second inning, which lasted more than 40 minutes.

“That kind of stuff happens rarely for us but when it does, when the wheels start to fall off, the whole bike comes apart,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Allie Klasen said. “It’s difficult just to get an out it seems like, so we try to boost them but there’s not much else you can say or do. They have to do it themselves and they have to want it more than the other team, and (Mountain View) was the better team today.”

Cheyenne Mountain’s season ends with an 18-5 record with two losses to Valor Christian, and defeats by Vista Ridge, Discover Canyon and Mountain View.

Two Colorado Springs-area softball teams beaten by powerhouse Valor Christian

Two area teams felt the sting of defeat by the state’s top softball powerhouse, Valor Christian, in the 4A Region 1 softball tournament.

But despite losing to the Eagles by a combined score of 31-0, both Cheyenne Mountain and Mesa Ridge walk away from their respective games with a plan.

Cheyenne Mountain’s plan after falling to Valor 20-0 in the region championship game is to storm back in Game 5 against Mountain View with hopes of earning a bid to the state tournament. While Mesa Ridge (13-8), which boarded the bus back home after a 16-2 loss to the Lions in the consolation game - plans to be back next year.

“We have to keep ourselves in perspective,” Mesa Ridge coach Al Bustillos said. “We know we are coming down here and facing the No. 1 team, so I wanted the girls to come out here and just have some fun. It’s great to play these type of teams and great for these girls to get a little experience.

“These girls are going to come and take a look at some of these better teams and just have to pick up their game,” Bustillos said. “And watching these type of teams is going to give us a little more incentive to go back home, get to work, and get back next year.”

The Grizzlies fell to Valor Christian 11-0 in the opening game of the tournament.

Cheyenne Mountain, on the other hand, had a strategy heading into the championship game, and pulled their ace Katelynn Ralston after Valor Christian took a 3-0 lead thanks to two home runs in the bottom of the first.

“We talked to our pitchers before the game and we told our ace Katelynn that if they get up at all we are going to take you out because we need to save your arm for that third game,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Allie Klasen said.

From there Valor scored an additional run in the first, and tacked on 11 runs in the second, and nine in the third to end the game after three innings.

“The first time we played them on our very first game of the season they beat us 4-1, but their pitcher (Alexandria Kilponen) is also going to LSU, so that’s one of those things where we can’t really be mad at our girls for going down how they did because of that,” Klasen said. “We just have to come out strong in the next game.”

Cheyenne Mountain claimed an 8-5 win in the teams’ first meeting of the day, despite allowing the Eagles to come back late in the game.

“They started coming back the last inning and we know what that feels like, and we understand that, but now is our opportunity, we have to bounce back too,” Klasen said after the opener. “This is one that we are confident in and our girls are confident and they just have to come out strong.”

Stat leaders

Mesa Ridge: Kylee Bunnell struck out two against Valor Christian, as the Eagles ace Alexandria Kilponen fanned 14 batters. … Emmalee Berry had two RBIs for the Grizzlies against Mountain View. Bunnell had two strikeouts against the Lions.

Cheyenne Mountain: Katelynn Ralston struck out seven in the Indians’ opening game against Mountain View. Jenna Randall, Ralston and Sarah Neeley each had two RBIs. … Hope Brazil came in for Ralston in the first inning against Valor Christian.