AURORA — The road to a state title ended for Legacy and Broomfield on the first day of the Class 5A state softball tournament Friday afternoon.
The finish was abrupt. The memories of a journey are long-lasting.
The Lightning rallied back to beat Castle View in the opening game before having their season halted in the quarterfinals by defending-champ Legend, and the Eagles fell to Grand Junction Central in their first game.
Tears and hugs for now. Perhaps, laughter and joy later.
"You're creating memories along the way," Legacy coach Dawn Gaffin said. "We've had a lot of fun together, we've done a lot of things together, had a lot of comeback victories."
No. 3 Legacy (22-5) added another thriller earlier in the day. And fittingly enough, it was Gaffin's 600th victory, according to Legacy's athletic twitter account.
The Lightning, champs of the Front Range League and their region, rallied for six runs in the sixth to erase a three-run deficit in their comeback win over the 14-seeded Sabercats. Alyssa Archuleta hit an RBI double, Morgan Hernandez-Belew scored the go-ahead run on a wild pitch, and Lauren Strathearn hit a two-run single as the Lightning jumped ahead 8-5.
After giving up a two-run homer, Hannah Farley then struck out Alexa Cordes looking to end the game.
"I should invest in L'Oreal because they gave me gray hairs all season when they did that," Gaffin cracked. "But they did them and that's memorable."
The run ended in the quarterfinals. Zoey LeCompte allowed six hits over seven innings to lead the No. 6 Titans past Legacy, 6-1. Legend's bats gave her some cushion with a four-run first.
The Lightning's "For Each Other" motto carried through even in defeat. Players and coaches huddled in left field after the game for parting words and embraces.
"We always had each other's backs," Strathearn said.
No. 7 Broomfield' season, meanwhile, ended earlier in a 17-2 loss. No one would have blamed the Eagles if its season had ended long before that.
Forced to deal with the loss of ace Lauren Klein to a year-ending injury prior to the season, and the resignation of coach Paula Seifried amid an allegation of misconduct in September, the Eagles pushed past unforeseen circumstances and created successes despite them.
"I don't think they've looked backwards at any point in the season," said interim coach Kale Gilmore, who took over before the team's game at Fort Collins on Sept. 12. "They haven't moaned or groaned about any of the things going on."
Mya Murdock, Sierra Dunham and Jaeda Garcia each homered for Central, which jumped out to a 7-0 lead. The Eagles then fought back — a theme that carried them throughout the season — and scored two runs in the third as Hadlee Reichert followed her two-run single with an emotional rally cry.
It wasn't enough.
Broomfield finished fourth in the Front Range League and then played the role of Cinderella as an 18 seed in regionals — beating No. 15 Mountain Vista and No. 2 Eaglecrest.
"We always fight back," senior Jenna Eatmon said.
"We never feel defeated," Klein added.
Brent W. New: email@example.com and @brentwnew
Legend 6, Legacy 1
At Aurora Sports Park
Legend411 000 0 — 6 8 1
Legacy001 000 0 — 1 6 3
W — Legend Zoey LeCompte (14-4). L — Hannah Farley (14-3).
Legend hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Bradley 4-1-1-0, Oldemeyer 3-1-1-0, Carwin 4-0-1-1, Lincavage 3-1-2-1, LeCompte 4-1-1-2, Locke 3-0-1-1, Griggs 4-0-1-0, Athey 3-1-0-0, Murray 2-0-0-0.
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Strathearn 4-0-0-0, Aragon 4-0-1-0, Olson 3-1-0-0, Taylor 3-0-1-0, Archuleta 2-0-0-0, Hernandez-Belew 3-0-1-1, Conradie 3-0-2-0, Pfeifer 3-0-0-0, Strachan 3-0-1-0.
Legend pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — LeCompte 7.0-6-1-0-2-1.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Farley 7.0-8-6-4-3-5.
Legacy 8, Castle View 7
At Aurora Sports Park
Castle View200 012 2 — 7 10 3
Legacy010 106 X — 8 9 1
W — Legacy Hannah Farley (14-2). L — Haley Hoy (9-7).
Castle View hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Rychlick 4-1-1-0, Parker 4-1-2-1, Hoy 4-1-1-0, Cordes 3-2-2-3, Campbell 3-0-0-0, Hale 1-0-0-0, Maxfield 3-0-1-0, Wheelus 2-0-0-0, Weigel 1-0-0-1, Schneider 3-1-3-2, Johnson 3-0-0-0, Christians 0-1-0-0.
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Strathearn 4-0-3-2, Aragon 4-0-0-0, Olson 4-1-2-0, Taylor 3-1-1-0, Free 0-1-0-0, Archuleta 3-2-2-1, Hernandez-Belew 2-1-1-0, Conradie 1-0-0-1, Pfeifer 2-1-0-0, Strachan 3-0-0-0, Bernard 0-1-0-0.
Castle View pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Hoy 6.0-9-8-7-1-7.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Kelly 2.0-4-2-2-0-3, Farley 5.0-6-5-5-0-5.
Grand Junction Central 17, Broomfield 2
At Aurora Sports Park
Grand Junction Central043 307 X — 17 13 0
Broomfield002 000 X — 2 6 8
W — Grand Junction Central Ashleigh Satterfield. L — Aubrey Mickelson.
Grand Junction Central hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Murdock 4-2-2-2, Garcia 5-2-2-4, Sharp 5-2-1-1, Arrieta 3-3-2-0, Dunham 5-2-3-2, Satterfield 4-0-0-1, Grant 3-3-0-1, Key 3-0-0-1, Johnston 0-1-0-0, Santiago 4-2-2-3.
Broomfield hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Baldner 3-1-1-0, Kitto 2-0-1-0, Reichert 3-0-2-2, Eatmon 3-0-1-0, Kapelke 3-0-0-0, Morales 2-0-0-0, Mickelson 1-0-0-0, Kloster 2-1-1-0, Eiguren 2-0-0-0.
Grand Junction Central pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Satterfield 6.0-6-2-2-2-1.
Broomfield pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Mickelson 2.0-6-4-4-2-1, Reichert 4.0-7-13-3-3-3.