BROOMFIELD — Attempting to match history might give some athletes the jitters, but not Paige Reichmuth.
The Legacy shortstop was cool as ever Thursday, despite the fact her team was taking its initial steps toward a sixth-consecutive Class 5A state championship. And her composure showed in the 5-1 season-opening win over Standley Lake.
It took the senior a bit of time to find her swing, but once she did the petite slugger did damage.
“When I stepped up to the plate there were two outs and bases were loaded,” she said. “I knew I need to have a good at bat to get us some insurance runs.”
Reichmuth broke open the game for Legacy (1-0) with her final at bat, making the sixth her team’s best offensive inning of the game. The shortstop’s two-run single to center field backed up Angelique Archuleta’s opening score of the inning off one of the Gators’ five errors of the game.
Moments before, Standley Lake (1-1) was flirting with an upset, drawing within a run in the top of the inning.
The three-run finale relieved some nerves and gave Legacy’s statistics a boost. But the Reichmuth believes her team is in line for much better showing than the six hits the Lightning recorded Thursday.
“Five to one isn’t what we really expected, but we did what we needed to do to win,” said Reichmuth, who finished the game with two hits. “But we have some more games to figure everything out.”
Hitting was hardly the aspect that ate at Dawn Gaffin. What got the coach were some sticky innings where her team got runners on, but then fizzled out.
“We had six stranded and two thrown out, so there are eight runs right there,” she said.
Standley Lake came into the game with hot bats, but Haley Smith quickly threw water on the team’s offensive spark. The sophomore pitcher worked a shutout until the sixth inning, jumping on top of the Gators lineup from the get-go.
The right-hander had four three up, three down innings, allowed only three hits and finished with six strikeouts. The showing more than bolstered Smith’s confidence as she took over what has been one of the Lightning’s most high-profile positions.
“There were definitely nerves, it being the first game,” she said. “But I trusted the girls behind me. I knew anything hit at them they were going to catch.”
Even with the solid start, Smith admitted she was fighting some butterflies. But she also has big shoes to fill, following in the footsteps of Legacy’s previous fireballers — the University of Arizona’s Shelby Babcock and University of Tennessee’s Rainey Gaffin.
“There is a little pressure taking over pitcher,” she said. “But it’s been an advantage learning from Shelby and Rainey. They’ve been the best to come through Colorado.”
Follow Elwood on Twitter @ElwoodKShelton.
LEGACY 5, STANDLEY LAKE 1
At Legacy HS
Score by innings:
Standley Lake (1-1) 000 001 0– 1 4 1
Centaurus (0-3, 0-1) 011 003 x– 5 6 1
W — Smith (1-0). L — Sutton (1-1).
Standley Lake hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Schmidt 2-1-0-0, May 3-0-0-0, Heronema 3-0-0-0, Stevens 3-0-1-0, Parry 3-0-1-0, Thompson 3-0-0-0, R. Couture 3-0-2-0, S. Garcia 2-0-0-0, B. Couture 1-0-0-0, N. Garcia 1-0-0-0. Totals — 26-1-4-0. SB — R. Couture.
Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Reichmuth 4-0-2-2, Geist 4-0-0-0, Prokaski 3-0-1-1, Smith 3-0-0-0, Archuleta 3-1-1-0, Barnard 2-1-0-0, Leon 2-0-0-0, Whitt 1-1-0-0, Walling 3-1-1-1, Latham 2-1-1-0. 2B — Reichmuth, Archuleta. SB — Reichmuth, Priokaski.
Standley Lake pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) — Sutton 4-3-2-2-1-1, Parry 2-2-3-0-1-0.
Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-k) — Smith 6-3-1-0-1-6, Leon 1-2-0-0-0-0.