Discovery Canyon 1 of 3 PPAC teams hunting 4A state softball title

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Photo - Centerfielder Amber Rees runs down a ball hit to deep centerfield during practice Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, at Discovery Canyon High School. The Thunder qualified for state and will play Friday. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
Centerfielder Amber Rees runs down a ball hit to deep centerfield during practice Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, at Discovery Canyon High School. The Thunder qualified for state and will play Friday. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

Discovery Canyon's softball team set three goals coming into the season: win the Pikes Peak Athletic Conference, win its regional tournament and win the Class 4A state title.

The results: check, check and we'll find out this weekend.

The Thunder went perfect through the PPAC. On Saturday, they swept their regional, including avenging a loss to Pueblo West in the championship game.

Tanya Ramsay has been Discovery Canyon's coach for 10 years. She had high praise for her team's regional title.

"This is a big statement, but I think it may have been our two best regional games we've ever played as a program," Ramsay said.

Joining Discovery Canyon at the tournament are PPAC rivals Air Academy and Falcon. Class 4A Colorado Springs Metro League champ Elizabeth is also in.

The Thunder, Kadets and Falcons qualified for state last year, too. But only Falcon advanced to the second round.

This year, RPI rankings were used to determine regional seeds. Those rankings seeded Air Academy 10, Discovery Canyon 13 and Falcon 24. The three teams each went and won their regional against higher-seeded competition, a testament to the strength of the conference, Ramsay said.

"There's sixteen teams that go to state," she said. "And to have Air Academy, Falcon and ourselves in those top 16 that's a big deal. It just shows the rise of Colorado Springs softball."

Similar to having to avenge a loss to Pueblo West, the Thunder will open the state tournament hoping to avenge a loss to Mountain View. The Mountain Lions defeated the Thunder in the Erie Tournament on the final day of August. Discovery Canyon led that one 7-0 before watching it slip away as the Thunder committed six errors.

"We just started making some mistakes and we gave that game away 10-7," Ramsay said. "They're a great team. We're going to have to play our best game."

Leading the way for the Thunder is starting pitcher Corah Price (8-6, 2.57 ERA). She gave up all 10 runs to the Mountain Lions, but only two were earned.

The junior said the team could play even better than it has been lately starting Friday.

"I think it's going to be a good challenge in competition and I think that's really going to help to push us and make us play at our best," said Price, who also leads the team with five home runs and 19 RBIs. "I think we're going to strive with that."

Sophomore Sami Edwards leads the team in average (.478), hits (33) and runs (28). Senior Larissa Lum is hitting .409 with 20 runs and 14 RBIs.

Lum, a catcher, has liked what she's seen from the team this year, especially in recent weeks.

"I think we're pretty confident heading into state," Lum said. "This is the best team I ever played on at this school."