AURORA ⋅ Here are the area's highlights from the state softball tournament at the Aurora Sports Park on Friday.
Call it a career: Price pitches last game for Discovery Canyon as the Thunder fall in quarters
As the curtain closed prematurely on Discovery Canyon’s late-game theatrics, so did the storied career of perhaps its best player in program history.
Corah Price turned in 12 dazzling innings over two games to wrap up her Thunder legacy as Discovery Canyon beat round-one foe Wheat Ridge 11-0 only to come up short in a 4-3 loss to Mountain View in the quarterfinals.
The third-seeded Thunder (17-5-1) got within a run against the Mountain Lions after putting up three in the sixth and had the tying runner aboard in the seventh.
A trip to their first semifinals in school history was dashed, however, as freshman pitcher Bailey Carlson induced a groundout to end the threat.
“I think the team in the end played for each other,” said Price, who will play softball at University of Toledo. “That’s a big aspect of why we were able to come back. It wasn’t about ourselves but the girls right next to us.”
Discovery Canyon managed little against a locked-in Carlson over five innings – which included two borderline-out calls at first to start the fifth.
In the sixth, though, Kayden Rodgers put the Thunder on the board with an RBI single and Mary Roach added another two runs when her groundball skipped under the second baseman’s glove as part of a momentum-swinging sixth.
Samantha Edwards had a two-out single in the seventh before Carlson shut the door for good.
“In games like this when you have the best 16 teams in the state it’s all got to come together,” Discovery Canyon coach Tanya Ramsay said. “We just needed to break out a little sooner with our bats.”
Carlson threw a four-hitter and Madison Langman homered and drove in three runs for the Mountain Lions.
Mountain View scored its first run in the fourth when Langman's deep but playable flyball drifted over the head of the right fielder. The senior added a two-run shot in the sixth to make it 4-0.
Earlier in the day, in Discovery Canyon’s 11-0 win over the Farmers, Cora Ferguson hit two home runs and Price also went yard.
Price struck out 10 on the day and recorded the 43rd win of her career.
No 2016 magic, Air Academy loses in first round
It took Air Academy five innings to solve the jigsaw that was Taylor Puga’s pitching arsenal on Friday morning.
By then, it was too late.
Puga was hypnotizing long enough in a seven-hitter and No. 5 Pueblo Central staved off the 12th-seeded Kadets 7-3 in the first round.
Air Academy (14-9) managed only four baserunners through the first five innings and trailed 7-0 before its bats came alive.
“Just a little too late,” Air Academy coach Chris Hernez said. “We lost an opportunity. We should have put up runs.
“That’s on us.”
Amanda Smith and Sheridan Wayne each drove in runs as part of a two-run sixth, and Karsen Romines -- whose sister Payton played the hero last year when she put Air Academy into the semifinals with a game-winning three-run home run with Air Academy's final out – kept things alive with a two-out RBI single in the seventh.
Central’s Marisa Munoz ran down a diving liner from Cassidy Horn to end the game.
“I saw it go to the outfield and was like, ‘Here we go’,” Romines said. “And then I saw she caught it.”
Air Academy’s senior class departs as four-time state qualifiers.
St. Mary’s out in first round to La Junta
Eleven years in the making, the Pirates’ return to the state softball tournament was short-lived.
La Junta homered twice and scored 10 times in the first three innings, beating St. Mary’s 13-3 in five.
“We didn’t come out to play for whatever reason,” coach David Hyland said. “I don’t know why.”
The Pirates (15-7) qualified for their first state tournament since 2006 by winning 12 of their last 13 games. That run included a 4-1 win over the Tigers in eight innings on Sept. 27.
"We were ready for this one," Hyland said. I though we'd make it further."
Peyton Richter had two RBIs for the Pirates.