LOVELAND — It didn't take long for the Silver Creek softball team to find its identity in 2018, and no it's not that it is simply a really good ball club this fall.
The Raptors are a team that has dance parties.
Up north in Loveland on Tuesday evening, the No. 2-ranked Raptors had plenty of reasons to dance around a speaker out in right field after winning an eight-inning contest 6-4 over preseason No. 1 and defending champion Mountain View. Right in the middle of the giddy group was Raptors senior third baseman Lucy Scott, who hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning that proved to be the game-winner.
"This is always one of the bigger games of our season and one that we really prepare for, but we wanted to come out relaxed and have fun," Scott said. "We did that and I think that's just the type of team we have this season. In that moment, I just wanted to do whatever I could to help my team, whether that meant getting on base by getting hit by a pitch or hitting a little dinker base hit. It felt great when I hit it.
"On the bus, anywhere, we're always playing music and having fun. Today was just a little bigger party than usual."
Playing eight games in a grueling first 12 days of the season, the Raptors (7-1, 3-0 Northern) have been partying a lot already. Their only loss came against Fossil Ridge, the No. 2-ranked team in Class 5A, and Tuesday's win pushed their streak to four in a row.
The Raptors jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first, scoring on a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly. With the Raptors ahead 4-2 going into the bottom of the seventh inning, however, the Mountain Lions tied the game on a two-run single from senior RaLeigh Basart.
Raptors senior Jetta Nannen, who also pitched a complete game and scored three of the Raptors' six runs on offense, reached base on an error to lead off the top of the eighth. With one out, Scott, who drove in three runs in the game, put the Raptors ahead for good with her decisive blast that narrowly cleared the right-center field wall.
"This was a big game," Raptors head coach Ryan Beavers said. "It always is and we respect the heck out of them. I think this is only the third time we've won here in my 12 years. We have high expectations but they've found their identity, and that's a team that has a lot of fun, makes a lot of noise in the dugout and stays loose. You have to do that in games like this."
With the win, Silver Creek remains unbeaten in conference play and gained a critical advantage over the team that figures to be their top competition for the Northern league title. After the game, Beavers downplayed that advantage and pointed out that Tuesday's game could have easily ended in a win for Mountain View, and that the second league and final game of the head-to-head series between the two teams will likely be tougher and even more significant.
The Raptors and Mountain Lions will play again on Sept. 20 at Silver Creek.
"It seems like we end up splitting every season so I don't think winning this one changes anything in their minds, nor does it change anything in ours," Beavers said. "That second game is going to be like starting over. I don't think it adds any pressure to one team or the other. If anything, we're going to have to be ready because they're going to be motivated and ready to go."
Silver Creek 6, Mountain View 4
At Mountain View H.S.
Silver Creek 200 011 02 — 6 6 3
Mountain View 001 001 20 — 4 9 2
W — Nannen. L — Carlson.
Silver Creek hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Harper 4-1-0-1, Garcia 4-0-0-0, Nannen 3-3-1-1, Kuehl 4-0-1-1, Scott 3-1-2-3, Wager 3-0-0-0, Kuckuk 3-1-1-0, Fisher 3-0-1-0, Beavers 2-0-0-0, Hunt 1-0-0-0. Totals 30-6-6-6. 3B —Nannen. HR —Scott (1 on in 8th). SB —Harper.
Mountain View hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Loeffler 5-1-1-0, Taylor 4-0-1-1, Basart 3-0-1-2, Chacon 4-0-1-0, Rogers 3-1-1-0, Carlson 4-0-2-0, Jewell 4-0-0-0, Duke 4-0-0-0, Pomranka 4-2-2-0. Totals 35-4-9-3. 3B —Rogers.
Silver Creek pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Nannen 8-9-4-4-2-3.
Mountain View pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Carlson 8-6-6-6-0-5.