Two years ago, the Longmont softball team reached the regional round of the state playoffs for the first time in recent memory and the Trojans found themselves back at regionals in 2017.
When the Colorado High School Activities Association released the statewide regional pairings on Monday morning, the Trojans saw their team listed in the postseason field for the third straight year. Now that qualifying for regional has seemingly become commonplace for the Trojans, they're entering this fall's regional round looking for the postseason win that eluded them in both 2016 and 2017.
"Not much has changed since the beginning of the season to now, really," Trojans head coach Kelsey Walters said. "We've set our goals even higher this week and we feel like this is our best chance to make it to state in the last 15 or 20 years."
The Trojans have positioned themselves as more of a state tournament contender than in previous seasons and enter regionals hitting .403 as a team. Angeline Mitchell (.514), Ayahna Bustamante (.471), Katrina Sabol (.438), Katie Alaniz (.415) and Grace Morrow (.410) all hit over .400 while playing in more than 20 games this season.
Mitchell is also the workhorse on the mound, going 13-5 with a 5.48 ERA and 82 strikeouts in 101 innings in the circle.
While all regionals are expected to play on Saturday, Oct. 13, CHSAA announced that regionals can begin play on Friday if they choose to in order to help avoid expected poor weather.
Saturday's forecast is calling for a 50 percent change of precipitation in the afternoon in the metro area and the northern part of the state.
CHSAA also announced that if any regionals are not completed on Saturday due to weather, they will be expected to play the next available day, Sunday. If weather remains a factor, regionals can be finished up on Monday.
Seeded No. 18 out of the 32 teams that reached the regional round in Class 4A, Longmont (16-6-1) will play in the Region 8 tournament. That double-elimination tournament, from which the top two teams will qualify for the state tournament, will be hosted by No. 2 Silver Creek (21-2) and will also include No. 15 Weld Central (16-7), the Trojans' first-round opponent, and No. 31 John F. Kennedy (14-9).
Also reaching the regional round but playing in the Region 3 tournament, Mead (10-13) enters the postseason as the No. 28 seed and will travel to play host Conifer (21-2) in the first round. Niwot (15-8) enters the playoffs at No. 20 and will play in Region 4 hosted by No. 4 Golden (17-6), and will face No. 13 Pueblo West (14-9) in the first round.
The Holy Family Tigers (21-2) will join Silver Creek among the favorites to win it all this postseason and will host the Region 5 tournament. No. 7 Erie (16-7) will host Region 7.
In Class 5A, No. 5 Legacy (19-4) will also host a regional tournament after yet another outstanding season. The Front Range League-champion Lightning will welcome Northglenn (14-9), Cherry Creek (14-9) and Regis Jesuit (13-10) for the Region 3 championships.
At the 5A Region 8 tournament hosted by No. 2 Eaglecrest (19-4), Broomfield (13-9-1) will enter as the No. 18 seed and looking to advance to the state bracket.
In 3A regionals, No. 19 Peak to Peak (13-10) will play at the Region 3 tournament hosted by No. 3 Delta.