Handle with care. The Silver Creek softball team is highly combustible.
The Raptors cranked seven home runs in two games at the state regional tournament last weekend, and that was merely a small sample of their abilities on offense.
The Class 4A Northern Conference champions roll into the first round of the state playoffs today confident and motivated. In 18 victories this season, Silver Creek (18-3) has outscored the opposition by a whopping average of 13-2; two of its three losses came by a single run.
Impressive, but don’t suggest to any of the Raptors that a juggernaut offense will get them a championship.
“We’ve had a couple games where our hitting was down, so we can’t just count on that. But we have solid defense and pitching that helps us out,” junior infielder Shelby Keil said.
Silver Creek will make its run at a title beginning at 10 a.m. today at Aurora Sports Park, with Pueblo Central standing in the way as the first obstacle. The Raptors reached the quarterfinals round last year and are hoping for more this time, but they are not getting ahead of themselves.
“We just take it one pitch, one inning, one game at a time,” said senior Elise Dugwyler, the Northern Conference player of the year. “We just do what we do.”
The team did lose starting outfielder Amanda Siedem, who broke her wrist during a routine practice session this week. The Raptors are deep in the field, however, and should have no trouble filling in there. Finding a replacement at the plate with be a bigger challenge.
Still, coach Ryan Beavers said it will take more than just big bats to make it to Saturday.
“You have to have all three aspects of the game,” he said. “We’re not going to strike out 14 or 15 batters a game, but we keep the ball down enough and in the strike zone enough and let our defense makes plays. And we don’t compound mistakes on defense — we might make one error, but we won’t make two in a row.
“When you put those two elements together with our offense, yes, things will happen.”
Brady Delander can be reached at email@example.com.