LONGMONT — The softball fields at Garden Acres Park certainly did not live up to their name on Saturday — not with Silver Creek's lineup swinging the sticks.
The name would suggest ample space for the ball to find its way around a spacious outfield. Instead, the Raptors had a home run derby of sorts in a pair of lopsided wins to capture the Class 4A Region 8 championship and a berth in the state tournament.
Jetta Nannen hit four home runs between the two games, and the Raptors smacked three home runs in the first inning of their regional championship game, paving the way for 22-0 and 15-0 wins over John F. Kennedy and Weld Central, respectively.
With an aggregate score of 37-0, though, the Raptors didn't do much of anything wrong and will look forward to where they are seeded for state, which begins next Friday morning at the Aurora Sports Park.
"We work together so well as a team, and as long as we're playing loose and having fun we can beat anyone," said Lucy Scott, one of seven seniors who have made the trip to Aurora a common occurrence. "The batting is contagious with us, so once one girl gets going in the first inning then all of us seem to carry it. We all just want to do our job to help the team."
"We really seemed just focused on the process, just winning an inning at a time on nothing else," head coach Ryan Beavers said. "We're playing defense, we ran the bases well today, which that has been a weak spot for us ... contributions all over the place for us."
The Raptors (23-2) left little mystery to the day, sending Kennedy to an elimination game with just three innings of play. Still, Nannen somehow managed to bat four times in the contest and hit three home runs.
Her fourth of the day, and 16th overall of the season, came in a barrage of bombs against the Rebels as SCHS plated six runs in the bottom of the first to set a tone they felt they needed.
MacKenzie Hunt provided a walk-off hit right down the chalk of the left-field line in the fourth frame of the second game, and the Raptors were business-like in their post-game routine in front of a large supporting crowd.
"We wanted to make a statement early in each game, as soon as the first inning, and finish it out well," Nannen said. "That was the goal."
The week leading up to regionals included talk of moving the tournament up one day to avoid bad weather — turned out to be picture-perfect on Saturday — and the Raptors also didn't get a chance to scrimmage Legacy as they had planned.
Nannen said that she felt the practices they did get in were full of good intent nevertheless.
"Even when we were inside we took it as serious as any outdoor practice," she said. "We had some fun with some things, but pitchers did bullpen, we hit whiffles, we did fielding and kind of just got it all done. We got our stuff done and figured it out."
Silver Creek was joined by Longmont out of Region 8 as state qualifiers.