LOVELAND — The Fairview softball team figured to be an improved club this season, certainly one capable of topping 2015's two-win total, but wasn't completely sure what its ceiling could be.
After the season ended on Saturday with a 7-0 loss to Loveland, the Knights could sit back and feel pretty good about the level of improvement they managed in 2016. Their final record, an overall mark of 8-11, was four times better than last year's.
"We had a great season," Knights junior Faith Anderson, who entered Saturday with a .649 batting average, said. "It was crazy after we were all over the place last year. We bonded more this season and really focused harder in practice. It worked out really well."
Under the new RPI (Ratings Percentage Index) system for postseason qualification, the top 32 teams in Class 5A will be selected to compete in next week's regional tournaments. When play began on Saturday, the Knights' (8-11, 2-9 Front Range League) were 38th in the standings.
Their RPI standing leaves the Knights out of the playoffs. But against the Indians (13-6, 9-3 Front Range League), who entered Saturday ranked eighth in the 5A RPI, the Knights did their best to play their way onto the playoff bubble.
It was an uphill climb for the Knights lineup against Indians starter Laurin Krings, who struck out the first five Fairview hitters and retired the first 11 until Knights junior Tea Valdez broke up the no-hit bid with a two-out single in the fourth inning. Fairview senior starter Madison Vojta held her own on the mound, allowing three runs while striking out five batters over her first five innings.
"I've been working really hard to get where I'm at and I felt pretty good today," Vojta said. "It was a nice game to end on. I felt like the hard work we've all been putting in showed through in each game and this one was a good one to end on."
The Indians rallied for four runs, only one earned, with Vojta still on the mound in the sixth. Junior Tea Valdez had both of the Knights' hits in the season finale.
Playing this year under their third coach in three seasons, the Knights have hopefully found some stability under first-year head coach Sarah Kosorok.
"This is my first year with Fairview and I'm absolutely so proud of them from where they've been the last couple years to now," Kosorok said. "We had some rough spots this season but we came out strong these last couple weeks and there's a lot to look forward to."
Loveland 7, Fairview 0
At Centennial Park
Fairview 000 000 0 — 0 2 2
Loveland 100 204 0 — 7 14 0
W — Krings. L — Vojta.
Fairview hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Riley Todacheene 3-0-0-0, Maddie Levenberg 3-0-0-0, Tea Valdez 3-0-2-0, Faith Anderson 3-0-0-0, Jenna Baro 3-0-0-0, Gabby Cook 2-0-0-0, Annie Wilhelm 2-0-0-0, Rachel Panem 2-0-0-0, Zoe Callicoat 2-0-0-0. Totals 23-0-2-0.
Loveland hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Tatum Rembao 4-2-3-0, Jessi Case 4-1-2-2, Addi Woodard 3-0-2-2, Wendy Dykstra 4-0-1-1, Macey King 4-0-1-0, Jessi Anderson 3-1-1-0, Laurin Krings 3-1-2-0, Gianna Tricarico 3-1-1-0, Elana Gerhard 3-1-1-0. Totals 31-7-14-7.
Fairview pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Madison Vojta 6-14-7-4-0-5.
Loveland pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Laurin Krings 5-1-0-0-0-6, Abby Lukkes 2-1-0-0-0-2.