When the softball regional brackets were released Sunday, they were accompanied by an unmistakable St. Vrain flavor.
In the Class 4A bracket, Niwot, Silver Creek and Erie all secured top-eight seeds and will host regional tournaments Saturday.
Northern League-champ Niwot (18-1), led by South Carolina-bound pitcher Nickie Blue, earned the No. 3 seed and will take on No. 30 Conifer in the opening round.
"It's definitely validation of the hard work, anytime you're even top eight," Niwot coach Bobby Matthews said. "Being in the top three is kind of where we figured we were going to be, and it's definitely a good spot to be in."
Silver Creek (15-4), the Northern League runner-up, earned a No. 5 seed and will begin against 28th-seeded Green Mountain. Shelby Keil (four home runs, 21 RBIs) leads a potent Raptors lineup.
Both Niwot and Silver Creek were originally scheduled to play at Garden Acres Complex in Longmont, but it was announced Monday that each team will play at its home venue.
Erie (15-4) was rewarded for winning the Tri-Valley League by earning the No. 7 seed. The Tigers, whose streak of reaching a title game in every season since 1998 (mostly in 3A) ended last season, will take on No. 26 Widefield in the first round.
Also making an appearance in the 4A bracket are Frederick and Broomfield. Frederick (13-6) just missed hosting a district by earning the No. 9 seed and will open against No. 24 Pueblo West in a district hosted by Thompson Valley.
Broomfield (12-7) earned the 13th seed and will begin against No. 20 Northern Ridge in a district hosted by Discovery Canyon.
In 5A, five-time champion Legacy (15-2-2) secured another No. 1 seed and will go for title No. 6. Sophomore Haley Smith has gone 10-0 in the pitching circle for the Lightning but has been injured and hasn't appeared in a game since Sept. 22. Bekka Prokaski (.557 average, 34 RBIs) paces the Lightning's lineup.
Legacy finished in a three-way tie with Fossil Ridge and Loveland for the Front Range League title. Each was 10-1 in league play.
In the 3A bracket, Holy Family earned the No. 3 seed and Peak to Peak the 18th.
Unlike the larger classifications, this bracket features 24 teams and a single-elimination format. Winners of the six regions are guaranteed a spot at state.
Holy Family (15-3), the Metro League champ, will open against No. 22 Brush. Senior pitcher Nicole Gardon is 10-2 with a 2.13 ERA for the Tigers.
Peak to Peak (9-9), led by pitcher Jo Bolyard, will open against No. 7 Basalt.
Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulWillis21