LOUISVILLE -- Monarch and Legacy were battling on the field, but outside the lines the message from the Coyotes to the Lightning was one of support and compassion.
Legacy won the softball game, 11-1, on Tuesday, but that wasn't the biggest takeaway from the day. It was the Coyotes' showing the Lightning they were with them while the school deals with a difficult time.
"Our team is built on supporting each other, and so being able to be there, whether we're friends or battling on the field, showing that we care and we understand what they're going through is not just vital for us but for our community," Monarch coach Erika Sponenberg said.
Legacy was playing two days after a bus carrying members of the Lightning football team from Denver International Airport crashed into a pillar, killing the driver and injuring 18 passengers. It has been a tough couple of days for the staff and students at Legacy, which is why the Coyotes showed support.
Before they took the field, the Monarch softball team jogged over to the Legacy dugout and each of the Coyotes handed a single rose to the Lightning players.
After the game, the Coyotes presented a sign that read, "Monarch Stands By You Legacy." Both teams stood behind the sign at home plate for pictures.
"It's been hard at the school and we're very thankful for it," senior Katelyn Kubitschek said. "It was an utter surprise but it was awesome."
In between the heartfelt gestures, the Lightning (7-2, 2-0 5A Front Range League) took care of business. Lauren Strathearn and Kubitschek led off the game with home runs that gave Legacy a 2-0 lead it didn't relinquish.
The Coyotes (3-8, 0-3) hung tough, scoring their only run in the first to make it 2-1. But Legacy added single runs in the second and third before blowing it open in the top of the sixth by scoring seven times with two outs.
Kubitschek nearly had her second home run of the game in the rally but the ball rolled out of play and she was awarded second on a ground-rule double.
"We should have done that in the first five," Lighting coach Dawn Gaffin said of the seven-run rally. "We usually do. Our goal is to have three in the first inning."
Monarch got a couple of runners on in the bottom of the sixth and pinch-hitter Payton Thomas nearly extended the game an extra inning with a long foul ball to left, but Legacy was able to close it out.
The final score was secondary to the support the Coyotes showed.
"We know it's a hard time for them right now and a lot of schools have shown their support," Monarch sophomore Peyton Allen said. "With this game we wanted to show ours as well. The game brings us together as a softball community."
Legacy 11, Monarch 1
Legacy 211 007 x — 11 15 1
Monarch 100 000 0 — 1 4 2
W — Isabella Kelly.. L — Erin Hersey..
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Strathearn 4-2-3-3, Kubitschek 4-2-2-2, Cook 4-1-1-1, Taggart 4-0-3-0, Hansen 0-2-0-0, Foley 4-1-3-2, Nelson 4-0-0-0, Pfiefer 3-1-1-0, Dannenberg 3-1-1-1, Hernandez-Belew 2-0-0-0, Conradie 1-1-1-0. Totals 33-11-15-9. 2B — Taggart 2, Kubitschek. HR — Strathearn (none on in 1st); Kubitschek (none on in 1st). SB — Foley, Pfiefer.
Monarch hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Allen 3-1-2-0, Marchetti 2-0-1-0, Stilson 3-0-0-0, MacDonald 2-0-0-0, Thomas 1-0-0-0, Hersey 3-0-0-0, Laman 2-0-1-0, Egaas 2-0-0-0, Stephenson 2-0-0-0, Reese 2-0-0-0. Totals 27-1-4-0. SB — Allen..
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kelly 5-3-1-0-0-7; Farley 1-1-0-0-0-0..
Monarch pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hersey 6-15-11-9-0-1..