BROOMFIELD — Niwot softball has suffocated its competition this season with airtight defense. But Broomfield left the sure-gloved Cougars gasping Thursday with opportunistic offense.
The Eagles downed Class 4A’s fifth-ranked team 5-0, exploiting an uncharacteristic shaky Niwot defense. The Cougars gave up three errors in their first Northern League loss of the season.
Niwot’s second error was perhaps its most costly, given the events that then unfolded. The fielding error in the fourth inning only cost Niwot one run, but with the way Katie Knudsen made it to home set a sour tone for the Cougars.
“I feel like they got rattled off my run,” said the Broomfield third baseman, who scored off two passed balls. “It kind of felt like they fell apart.”
Broomfield (7-2, 5-0) never looked back once it drew first blood on Niwot (4-2, 4-1) in the rescheduled game following Wednesday’s rainout. The Eagles put the game away in the sixth, scoring four runs off three hits.
Eagles center fielder Karli Hughes had one of her team’s two extra-base hits with a screamer to right field that went for a triple. The throw to third went sailing toward the Cougars’ dugout, allowing Hughes to score.
It was an impressive finish for the Eagles given who the batters faced. Nickie Blue has been one of the stingiest pitchers in 4A, entering Thursday having surrendered only 10 hits, two for extra bases.
“We came in with a game plan and stuck with it,” said Broomfield coach Paula Seifried, whose team takes control of the league standings with the win. “Blue does a great job placing her pitches. We let her waste her stuff to the outside until she came inside on us.”
Blue, herself, could not pinpoint what went wrong in her and her team’s game, but said the focus was not there.
“We weren’t in it, mentally or physically,” the junior said. “And that just can’t happen in softball.”
Bobby Matthews, on the other hand, was straight to the point in what he believed happened in Niwot’s second loss of the season.
“I hate to say it, but I think we bought into the hype,” the Cougars coach said. “I think we read our own press clipping and thought we could just walk in here today and everything would happen the right way.”
Even with the troubles on defense, Niwot had its chance to answer back, while the score was still manageable.
Raven Baca made it to second in the sixth inning on a throwing error and passed ball, but that was the closest the Cougars made it to home with two routine outs ending the inning.
Shelby Grandt proved too disciplined on the mound, with the sophomore pitcher only giving up one hit and allowing three base runners.
“This is a huge win for a sophomore,” Seifried said.
Broomfield 5, Niwot 0
Score by innings:
Niwot 000 000 0 — 0 1 3
Broomfield 000 104 x — 5 6 1
Blue and Supino; Grandt and Brophy-Shiels. W — Grandt (5-2). L — Blue (4-2).
Niwot hitting — Supino 0-3, Johnson 0-1, Blue 0-3, M. Antzer 0-3, Eutsler 0-1, McPherson 0-2, H. Antzer 0-2. Baca 0-2, Vande Hoet 0-2.
Broomfield hitting — Babcock 1-3, Hughes 1-3, Knudsen 1-3, Brophy-Shiels 0-0, Grandt 2-3, Trotter 0-3, DeBoer 0-3, Terasas 0-2, Platrick 1-3. 2B — Babcock. 3B — Hughes.