Softball: Legacy Lightning strikes late against Horizon

Legacy 10, Horizon 0
At Horizon H.S.
Legacy (13-1, 5-1) 002 007 1 10 14 0
Horizon (6-8, 3-3) 000 000 0 0 2 0
W Gaffin (12-1). L Smith (4-2)
Legacy (ab-r-h-rbi) Gaffin 4-1-1-1, Reichmuth 3-1-1-0, Eubanks 0-0-0-0, Prokaski 5-2-4-3, Ball 4-1-3-3, Dempsey 3-1-0-0, Archuleta 4-0-2-1, Bernard 4-1-1-0, Richardson 3-2-2-2, Walling 2-1-0-0. Totals 31-10-14-10. 2B Prokaski, Ball. 3B Richardson. HR None. SB Reichmuth.
Horizon (ab-r-h-rbi) Mitts 3-0-1-0, Waatts 3-0-0-0, Hoppe 3-0-0-0, Snelling 2-0-0-0, Pritchard 3-0-0-0, Smith 3-0-1-0, Hepp 3-0-0-0, Barnett 1-0-0-0, Wessel 1-0-0-0. Totals 22-0-2-0. 2B Mitts. 3B None. HR None. SB Smith.
Legacy (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) Gaffin 5-1-0-0-2-2, Smith 2-1-0-0-0-6.
Horizon (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) Smith 6-13-9-9-3-3, Snelling 1/3-0-0-1-2-0, Mitts 2/3-1-1-0-0-1.

THORNTON – Legacy spent the better part of Saturday morning shaking the cobwebs from its bats. But once the top-ranked team got into its offensive groove, there was little Horizon could do to slow the Lightning down.

Legacy downed its Front Range League rivals 10-0, with the four-time defending state champions rattling off seven runs in the sixth inning. The runs withered what had been, up to that point, a stingy Hawks’ defense.

The turning point for both teams came in Kelsie Richardson’s third at bat, when she came up with the biggest hit of the game. Her two-run triple down the right-field line spurred home Legacy’s next five runs and had Horizon out of sorts for the final innings.

“It was a good feeling hitting it,” the designated hitter said. “It fired up the team.”

The Lightning (13-1, 5-1) went on in the inning to collect the last of three extra-base hits. Shortstop Jessica Ball ripped a double to center field to send two runs home. But getting to the point of putting Horizon (6-8, 3-3) on its heel took some doing.

Legacy struck in the third inning, with Becca Prokaski and Ball giving momentary life to their team’s offense. Prokaski put the team on the board with a one-run double, Ball then sent the right fielder home with a single Before and after the inning, however, the team was flummoxed.

The Lightning collected five hits and had as many base runners in the first, second, fourth and fifth; but the team could not figure out how send runners home once on base.

“The sixth made up for it a little bit, but we still shouldn’t have taken that team as lightly as we did,” said Prokaski, who batted 4-for-5 Saturday to lead all hitters. “We should have played our first inning like we did the sixth.”

Horizon’s main weapon against Legacy was pitcher Taylor Smith. The right-hander did not dazzle the Legacy lineup, only striking out three batters. What she did do was limit big hits a key times, outside the third and sixth.

Rainey Gaffin had a some what similar experience on the mound. The University of Tennessee-bound senior had trouble hitting the strike zone to retire batters, only getting two punch outs on the morning. But she allowed almost nothing but ground balls, leading to a slew of easy outs.

Haley Smith closed the game for Legacy in dominant fashion. Relieving Gaffin in the sixth, the freshman struck out six batters, giving up one hit along the way.

“My girls are still young, so every game is a learning experience,” said Legacy coach Dawn Gaffin, whose squad sits third in conference standings. “They’ll get it.”