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Softball preview: Holy Family Tigers want to roar back to 3A finals

Holy Family softball has had a rough run lately in the Class 3A state tournament.

One of the classification’s top programs has been stonewalled at the big dance, making it no deeper than second round in the past two seasons. But the Tigers expect to break that trend in 2011. As always, the team’s aim is the state finals, and with a mature and experienced roster, it appears more than doable.

“We have a lot of fire in our bellies for state, the way we’ve performed lately,” coach Glen Ramos said. “We are ready to prove we are still one of 3A’s top contenders.”

Pitching should be the cornerstone to Holy Family’s return to the top. While she took her lumps as a sophomore, giving up 66 earned runs, Nicole Gardon showed incredible mound presence in her first year as a starter. And after putting in work over the summer to tame her mechanics, the junior right-hander has the potential to be among the best in 3A.

Gardon also is expected to be among her team’s top batters, but she is not the only Tiger who can swing for the fences. Caitlyn Krenz, Monique Gonzales and Moriah Turney are each more than capable of putting the ball in play and keeping the runs coming.

The team has its challenges, especially in filling some key positions. First base and left field are open and it might take a part of the season to figure out who best fits each position. But the team also has some perks entering the season.

The Metro League has gotten a bit easier, with two programs going up in smoke. Middle Park axed its softball team at the end of last season and Denver Lutheran shut its doors before the start of the school year. The conference still has its tests, with Faith Christian appearing to have the personnel to push for the top.

HOLY FAMILY

League: Metro League. Champion: Holy Family.

Coach: Glen Ramos (15th season).

2010 results: 15-8; lost in second round of Class 3A state tournament.

Returning starters: Tess Cartin, C, Soph.; Maeve Donovan, Utl., ; Nicole Gardon, P/1B, Jr.; Monique Gonzales, CF, ; Kaycie Wood, Utl. ; Caitlyn Krenz, 3B, ; Grace Petersen, 2B; Alejandra Sullivan, RF, ; Moriah Turney, SS.

Future contributors: Macy Cox, 1B, Frosh.; Bayleigh Rodriguez, 1B, Frosh.; Mackenzie Zemann, LF, Sr.

2010 statistical leaders: Batting average — Beth Petersen .477. RBI — Amy Baumberger 25. ERA — Nicole Gardon 3.76. K — Nicole Gardon 120.

Schedule:

Tuesday Chatfield 3:30 p.m.

Saturday @Golden 10 a.m.

Aug. 30 @Peak to Peak 4 p.m.

Aug. 31 Brush 4 p.m.

Sept. 1 Faith Christian 4 p.m.

Sept. 3 @Conifer 10 a.m.

Sept. 6 Sheridan 4 p.m.

Sept. 8 Horizon 4 p.m.

Sept. 10 @Platte Valley 11 a.m.

Sept. 13 @Englewood 4 p.m.

Sept. 15 Platte Canyon 4:30 p.m.

Sept. 17 @Pueblo East 10 a.m.

Sept. 22 Machebeuf 4 p.m.

Sept. 23 Broomfield 4 p.m.

Sept. 29 St. Mary’s Academy 4:30 p.m.

Oct. 1 Valley 10 a.m.

Oct. 4 Jefferson 4 p.m.

Oct. 6 D’Evelyn 3:30 p.m.

Oct. 7 @Brighton 4 p.m.