LONGMONT — Last season marked the first time in 11 years that the Longmont softball team qualified for regional competition.
More than a decade ago, Kelsey Walters was learning the ins and outs of prep softball as a freshman on the Trojans' team that made regionals. Now, in 2017, Walters is the Trojans' head coach.
Something about that freshman season must have resonated with Walters, because she coached the Trojans back to the regional round in 2016. So far in the following fall campaign, it looks like Walters' Trojans are determined to back up that regional appearance.
On Thursday, the Trojans (8-6, 5-4 Northern)picked up an 11-1 win over Thompson Valley (4-9, 4-5 Northern) that kept them on track to accomplish their goal.
"We had kind of a rough stretch to start with but the girls keep playing hard and it's working for us now," Walters said.
Despite their lofty goals, the Trojans opened the 2017 season with an 0-3 record. That tough start included a 10-6 loss to the same Thompson Valley team that they defeated by double-digit runs on Thursday. Since then, the Trojans are 7-3 and have climbed into fourth place in the 4A Northern League standings.
The late-September rematch, which began with a Thompson Valley run in the top of the first inning, was all Trojans after that. They responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, scored four more in the fourth, another four in the fifth, and added an 11th run in the sixth inning to enact the 10-run rule and end the game early.
After allowing the first-inning score, Trojans starting pitcher Jenna Moore struck out five batters while allowing just two more hits over the final five inning of the game.
"Our bats came out early and we were making good contact early in the game," Moore said. "I feel like we jumped over the hurdle at the beginning of the season and now we're really doing our jobs. We have a lot of competitive girls and we're doing what we thought we would."
The first four hitters in the Trojans' lineup reached base safely to open the game, and four Trojans hitters - Moore, Katrina Sabol, Aislin Khleif and Holly Nicholas - recorded multiple hits in the game.
The Trojans will look to keep rolling on Tuesday when they take on Centaurus, whom they defeated 12-2 on Sept. 5.
Longmont 11, Thompson Valley 1
At Longmont H.S.
Thompson Valley 100 000 0 — 1 3 2
Longmont 200 442 0 — 11 14 0
W — Moore.
Thompson Valley hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — McVay 3-1-2-0, Ortiz 3-0-0-1, Wall 3-0-0-0, Orozco 2-0-0-0, Porter 2-0-1-0, Coronado 2-0-0-0, Wagonmaker 2-0-0-0, Doyle 2-0-0-0, Demare 2-0-0-0. Totals 21-1-3-1. 2B —McVay. SB — McVay.
Longmont hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Sabol 3-3-2-1, Bustamante 4-2-1-3, Moore 4-1-3-2, Khleif 4-1-3-2, Mitchell 2-0-1-1, Nicholas 4-0-2-1, Alaniz 4-0-0-0, Morrow 4-2-1-0, Simmons 4-2-1-0, Simmons 0-0-0-0. Totals 32-11-14-10. 2B — Bustamante, Khleif, Morrow, Nicholas, Sabol, Simmons. SB — Simmons 2, Khleif.
Thompson Valley pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — McVay 6-14-11-6-4-8.
Longmont pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Moore 6-3-1-1-0-5.