BROOMFIELD — After an up and down start to the season, the Berthoud softball team recently caught fire. Starting Aug. 31, the Spartans ripped off six wins in seven games, averaging more than eight runs per outing during that stretch.
Coach Buddy Kouns' team was rewarded Monday for its efforts when BHS cracked the CHSAANow.com 4A top 10, coming in at No. 8.
Getting recognized for your hard work is always nice, but as the Spartans soon learned, that ranking doesn't carry much weight out on the field. No. 8 Berthoud was no match for No. 1 Holy Family as the host Tigers roared their way to a decisive 10-0 Tri-Valley victory on Tuesday.
A double by Addi Spears in the first inning showed the Spartans (8-5, 2-2) were ready for a fight, but a pair of strikeouts by Erin Caviness firmly shut the door on that scoring chance. That proved to be Berthoud's only real threat of the game, held down by a two-hit, 10-strikeout performance in five innings by Caviness.
There were a few calls the Spartans would've preferred went the other way during a three-run third by the Tigers, followed by a five-run fourth. But those plays didn't determine the outcome, a message Kouns tried to get his team to understand afterward.
"Umpires don't decide a game. Players decide games. That's just the way it is," Kouns said. "Just plain and simple, and I'm as positive of guy as you would meet, we laid down. That's disappointing."
The Tigers (11-1, 3-0 TVC) had 14 hits in five frames, but only two went for extra bases. Instead the top-ranked team in 4A constantly applied pressure by putting the ball in play and being aggressive on the basepaths with four stolen bases. The approach wasn't handled particularly well by the Spartans, who seemed too concerned with what they couldn't control rather than what they could.
"That's kind of been our story so far this year," Kouns said. "When we face a little bit of adversity, we don't do a very good job of responding to it. Here's the good news though: We've got nine more games to correct that."
In case the Spartans needed any reassurance the one loss wasn't the end of the world, they got some from the opposing dugout. Holy Family coach Mitch Martinez said his Tigers suffered a similar loss just a few days ago.
"I think that happens to high school kids. It happened to us the other day, exact same thing against Mountain Vista," Martinez said. "They just kept pressuring us and eventually they kind of wore us down a little bit."
Caviness pulled double duty for Holy Family. Along with her dominant pitching effort, the senior also led the Tigers at the plate in going 3-for-4 with six RBI. She broke the game wide open with a three-run homer during her team's five-run fourth inning.
In a play that summed up the day for both sides, Caviness' ball landed on the very top of the wall, bounced off the yellow fence guard and disappeared over the other side. A fortunate break for sure, but perhaps it was just the universe's way of evening things out.
"What's really funny about her is she did the exact same thing (before) but it bounced back in," Martinez said. "So we've been giving her a hard time about hitting the yellow and it staying in. So we were pretty happy for her."
Tigers 10, Spartans 5 (5 inn.)
At Holy Family HS
Berthoud 000 00 — 0 2 5
Holy Family 003 53 — 10 14 0
W — Erin Caviness. L — Sarah Jorissen.
Berthoud hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Sarah Jorissen 2-0-0-0, Addi Spears 2-0-1-0, Ashlynn Balliet 1-0-0-0, Natalie Fischer 1-0-0-0, Carly Rafferty 2-0-0-0, Mandi Laib 2-0-1-0, Ellie Yuska 2-0-0-0, Jordan Schachterle 2-0-0-0, Stephanie Haberkon 2-0-0-0. Totals 16-0-2-0. 2B — Spears.
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Anna Martinez 3-3-2-2, Sara Rode 0-2-0-0, Erin Winters 4-1-2-0, Erin Caviness 4-1-3-6, Tyler Whitlock 3-1-2-0, Noelle Gordon 3-0-1-0, Abby Edwards 2-0-0-0, Toni Shafer 3-1-1-0, Kaitlyn McKenzie 2-1-1-0. Totals 24-10-12-8. 2B — Caviness. HR — Caviness. SB — Whitlock, Rode, Kuszak, McKenzie.
Berthoud pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Jorissen 4-10-8-7-4-0, Spears 0-4-2-2-1-0.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Caviness 5-2-0-0-0-10.