AURORA — Rightfully so, the Broomfield softball team gets a lot of attention for its talented, hard-hitting freshman class.
But with the Eagles’ season hanging in the balance Saturday, it was their two seniors who had the most to lose. After all, all those freshmen have several seasons left to return to the state tournament.
For Shelby Grandt and Karli Hughes, this is it.
Through that prism, it was fitting that the tandem was most prominent in Eagles’ run to the Class 4A semifinals, which they punctuated with a nail-biting 7-6 win against D’Evelyn at Aurora Sports Park.
“Shelby and I definitely want it,” said Hughes, who had a two-run homer amongst three hits against the Jaguars. “I mean, this is our last year and we’ve never made it this far.”
The drought goes farther back than the careers of Grandt and Hughes. In coach Paula Seifried’s seven seasons, the Eagles had never been past the first round until defeating Pueblo West 7-1 Saturday morning behind a stellar outing from Grandt. They figured, why stop there?
Broomfield (16-6) came back from two-run deficits twice against the Jaguars to earn a spot in the semifinals (10 a.m., Sunday) against top-seeded Wheat Ridge (22-1).
“The underclassmen, they really want to do it for these girls,” Seifried said. “And they have a lot of pride in what they’re doing. They’re doing a great job and our seniors are leading the way.”
Trailing 2-0 against No. 13 D’Evelyn (15-9), Hughes launched a two-run homer to left-center to tie it. Broomfield found itself trailing 4-2 in the fifth when Hughes was in the middle of another rally.
Brennan Thomas and Hughes each hit RBI singles to equal it at 4-4. That’s when Grandt delivered the go-ahead single and Matti Morales capped the inning with another run-scoring single to make it 6-4.
Broomfield took a 7-4 lead to the seventh and withstood a two-run double by D’Evelyn’s Allison Heitsman before Grandt closed it out. She finished with nine strikeouts and overcame four errors by her defense.
Although Hughes’ homer (part of a 3 for 4, three-RBI performance) clearly re-energized the Eagles, she spoke like a leader when discussing it.”
“I think we would have pulled it together anyway because we are such a strong team,” she said. “We have a lot of young talent.”
In the opener against Pueblo West, Grandt was simply on fire. She allowed two seeing-eye singles in the first, then embarked on a stretch in which she retired 16 of 18 batters (the Cyclones reached on a hit-by-pitch and error). Grandt settled for a three-hitter in which she permitted an unearned run in the seventh. She walked none and struck out seven.
The freshmen sluggers were prominent in the early one. Linnie Malkin went 2 for 4 with a double, a triple and three RBIs and Taylor Gilmore contributed a pair of RBI singles.
But while those youngsters have many future headlines in the high school ranks, Grandt and Hughes do not. That’s why Hughes sprints to center field with added zest each inning the Eagles remain in contention.
“We do a word thing before each game, and hers has been an exclamation point,” Seifried said. “There’s one. We need more exclamation points.”
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Broomfield 7, D’Evelyn 6
At Aurora Sports Park
D’Evelyn (15-9) 002 020 2 — 6 5 0
Broomfield (16-6) 002 041 X — 7 8 4
W — Grandt (13-6). L — Masters (12-8)
D’Evelyn hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Name 0-0-0-0, etc. Totals 0-0-0-0. 2B — Name. 3B — Name. HR — Name (grand slam in 4th). SB — Name.
Broomfield hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Name 0-0-0-0, etc. Totals 0-0-0-0. 2B — Name. 3B — Name. HR — Name (grand slam in 4th). SB — Name.
D’Evelyn pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Masters 5.1-8-7-7-2-0, Wilson 0.2-0-0-0-0-2.
Broomfield pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Grandt 7-5-6-3-5-9.
Broomfield 7, Pueblo West 1
At Aurora Sports Park
Pueblo West (15-8) 000 000 1 — 1 3 1
Broomfield (15-6) 204 001 x — 7 11 2
W — Grandt (12-6). L — Thomas (11-6)
Pueblo West hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Rodriguez 3-0-1-0, Ruiz 3-0-0-0, Moss 2-0-0-0, McCarthy 3-1-1-0, DeVille 3-1-1-0, Thomas 2-0-0-0, Algien 1-0-0-0, Adkins 3-0-0-0, Sanchez 2-0-0-0, Milyard 1-0-0-0, Cordova 3-0-0-0. Totals 26-1-3-0. 2B — DeVille.
Broomfield hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Hughes 4-1-2-0, Goodwin 3-2-1-0, Grandt 3-0-1-1, Malkin 4-2-2-3, Gilmore 3-1-2-2, Morales 2-0-1-0, Brock 3-0-1-1, Thomas 2-0-0-0, Lockwood 1-1-1-0. Totals 25-7-11-7. 2B — Hughes, Malkin, Grandt. 3B — Malkin, Gilmore, Morales. SB — Goodwin 2.
Pueblo West pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Thomas 2.1-5-5-4-0-2; Algien 3.2-6-2-2-1-3.
Broomfield pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Grandt 7-3-1-0-0-7.