BROOMFIELD — The past two softball seasons has seen the Tri-Valley League come down to the Erie Tigers and the Holy Family Tigers, and in each case it has been the series against each other that really has determined the crown.
On Thursday afternoon at Holy Family, it was the home team's determination as the league frontrunner all season that helped Erin Caviness and her teammates complete one of their season goals, a dominating 8-1 win over Erie that put them in line to host a Class 4A regional tournament next weekend.
Caviness struck out nine batters over seven effective innings, Noelle Gardon had three hits and knocked in three runs, and the Tigers improved to 21-2 this season.
"It was definitely about hard work, and we really prepared well for practices for this moment," said Caviness, who won her 15th game by spreading out six hits. "Knowing we have to score every inning and just play as hard as we can because if we play at our best, no one can touch us.
"We just try and set a tone that we're not going to stop until the game's over."
A two-out triple by Kaitlyn McKenzie in the second inning helped Holy Family to a 3-0 lead, and after Erie scored what would turn out to be its only run in the third, Holy Family (13-1 TVL) responded by plating runs in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
Kat Sackett and Maddie Leach combined for five of Erie's six hits.
Both teams will qualify for regional play automatically out of the league, and brackets will be determined by early next week. Erie (16-7, 11-3) should finish inside the top 10 in ratings percentage index used to determine playoff teams, keeping the Tigers in the conversation for a regional tournament at EHS, as well.
"It's not easy getting out of regionals and we know that because we've been there," Caviness said. "We just know we have to continue to work."
Holy Family 8, Erie 1
At Holy Family HS
Erie (16-7, 11-3)001 000 0 — 1 6 5
Holy Family (21-2, 13-1)030 122 x — 8 9 0
W — Caviness. L — Leach.
Erie hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Quijas 4-0-0-0, Brand 3-0-0-0, Sackett 3-0-3-1, Williams 3-0-0-0, Vaughan 3-0-0-0, Fraser 3-0-1-0, Russel 3-0-0-0, Armstrong 2-0-0-0, Leach 2-1-2-0. Totals 26-1-6-1.
Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Martinez 4-0-0-0, Rode 4-1-0-0, Winters 3-1-1-1, Caviness 4-2-1-0, Whitlock 3-1-2-1, Gardon 3-1-3-3, Edwards 3-0-0-0, Kuszak 3-2-1-1, McKenzie 2-0-1-1. Totals 29-8-9-7.
Erie pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Leach 6-9-8-4-1-4.
Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Caviness 7-6-1-1-2-9.