BROOMFIELD — The groundwork for the Legacy softball program was forged over the last decade when names like Shelby Babcock and Rainey Gaffin dominated in the circle for the Lightning and helped guide them to six state titles.
The lasting effects of that dominance are still felt today, and opponents still view it as a feather in their cap when they can knock off Dawn Gaffin's team.
On Saturday morning at Legacy, with a number of notable alumni on hand — including those aforementioned All-American pitchers — Legacy had a chance to cement its place back atop a top-heavy Front Range League against the No. 4 team in the CHSAANow.com Class 5A poll in Fossil Ridge.
It looked great for the Lightning after a four-run first inning off Jordan Ellis, but Legacy couldn't get anything going after that and watched the SaberCats chip away and eventually pull out an 8-4 win.
Fossil Ridge moves into sole possession of the top spot in the FRL with a 9-1 league record and they are 15-2 overall. No. 5 Legacy drops to 13-3 overall and 7-2 within the FRL.
"You have heard me say it before, that champions figure out what to do and make adjustments," said Legacy coach Dawn Gaffin, whose team will conclude the regular season next week against Fort Collins, Poudre and Monarch. "The season is not over with this game and we have to figure out a way to process this game and go forward.
"The sign of a true champion is what adjustments do they make on Monday when we get to practice?"
Legacy came out of the gate swinging. A leadoff double down the left field line by Kiara Pfeifer was followed by Sami Conradie getting hit by a pitch and a Kaitlin Strachan walk to load the bases for clean-up hitter Trisha Cook.
She ripped a double, again down the left field line that cleared the bases, and the Lightning were off and running. Ciarra Nelson would single in Cook for the fourth run and they felt good about what they could do against Ellis.
Legacy starter Hannah Farley, who went through the potent Fossil Ridge line-up the first time surrendering just one run, didn't have the same good fortune the second time around.
The SaberCats sent 10 batters to the plate in the top of the third inning and scored twice on a Mia Moddelmog (she went 4-for-4 with 3 RBIs) single and then plated their final three runs of the inning on a walk, hit by pitch and a sacrifice fly.
It would be all Fossil Ridge would need.
"We focus on the winning sometimes, and yes winning is important, but it's not the last game of the season and it's not the state championship game," Gaffin said. "We have to come out on Monday and fine tune things, polish things up, dust some other things off and figure out how to fix it and tighten it up a little bit."
Gaffin loves this team and feels like they have the potential to do great things with the regional and state tournaments looming in the coming weeks.
"I don't feel any differently than I did before this game started," she said. "I know what I have in these kids, and I have a great team. Every single one of them can hit, one-through-13, and all of them can perform."
FOSSIL RIDGE 8, LEGACY 4
Fossil Ridge (15-2, 9-1)015 101 0 — 8 9 0
Legacy (13-3, 7-2)400 000 0 — 0 4 3
W — Ellis. L — Farley.
Fossil Ridge hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Reed 4-2-1-1, Mercado 4-1-1-0, Delaney 4-2-1-0, Moddelmog 4-2-4-3, Will 2-1-0-0, Philop 2-0-0-1, Henderson 3-0-0-1, Ellis 3-0-1-2, King 4-0-1-0. Totals 30-8-9-8.
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Pfeifer 4-1-1-0, Conradie 3-0-0-0, Miyasaki 0-1-0-0, Strachan 2-1-1-0, Farley 0-0-0-0, Kelly 0-0-0-0, Cook 3-1-1-3, Nelson 2-0-1-1, Foley 3-0-0-0, Reeves 3-0-0-0, Hernandez-Belew 1-0-0-0, Strathearn 0-0-0-0, Archuleta 3-0-0-0. Totals 24-4-4-4.
Fossil Ridge pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Ellis 7-4-4-4-2-6.
pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Farley 5+-8-8-7-5-3, Kelly 2-1-0-0-0-1.