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BOULDER — With all the changes and fresh start hopes the Boulder High School softball team is carrying into the 2014 season, the Panthers were happy to finally return to the familiarity of their home field on Monday.

After a ribbon-cutting ceremony before the first home game of 2014, the Panthers held off a late rally from George Washington to win 7-6 and make their return home a triumphant one.

“It was a great first home game,” senior center fielder Mia Webb said. “It’s definitely a good start to have a win at home and we can definitely improve from here. We’ve been playing out here through the summer but we haven’t played a high school game here yet. The fact that it was a win in our first game back at home lightens the mood and makes it a great return.”

The softball field at Boulder High School was destroyed during last September’s devastating floods and the Boulder Valley School District finished repairs just in time for the program’s Girls of Summer camp in June. Except for a couple home games at nearby Fairview High School, the Panthers played the entire second half of last season on the road.

Having won just 10 games in the past two seasons, and having graduated nine seniors last May, the Panthers opened their first 4A Northern League campaign with a 3-1 road loss at Roosevelt High School on Friday. Behind freshman pitcher Kelly McCarty, who allowed just two unearned runs while starting and reentering in the sixth inning, the Panthers (0-1) tallied seven runs against the visiting Patriots (0-2) for their first win.

“It was my first home game as a freshman and it’s very different than playing summer ball,” McCarty said. “It was fun to come out here and play with all the upperclassmen and win out on our home field. Our hitting was much better this game. We did a better job of timing up to the pitcher.”

McCarty and Webb combined for four of the Panthers’ five RBIs and seven different Panthers crossed home plate in the victory.

With the Panthers leading 5-0 to start the sixth inning, the Patriots rallied for four runs. Ahead just 7-6, the Panthers got the final out of the game in the top of the seventh inning with runners on second and third.

Panthers head coach Susan Guegan, who believes she has one of the best defensive teams she’s had in her five years coaching the team, was pleased with her team’s effort.

“George Washington always gives us a good game but today our offensive game came alive,” Guegan said. “We had our sign out that said, ‘Boulder softball, there’s no place like home.’ Being our first home game back from the flood, it was a really special day for us and the girls were really excited.”

The Panthers will travel to Loveland to take on Thompson Valley on Tuesday and return to their home field to host Silver Creek on Thursday.

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Boulder 7, George Washington 6

At Boulder H.S.

George Washington 000 004 2 — 6 9 2

Boulder 201 211 x — 7 7 5

W — McCarty. L — Harris.

George Washington hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Cahoj 4-0-0-0, Harris 2-1-1-0, DeLeon 3-1-2-0, Levesque 3-2-1-0, Dominguez 4-2-0-0, Schaack 4-0-2-1, Romero 3-0-1-2, Whalen 4-0-2-2, Garcia 4-0-0-0. Totals 31-6-9-5. SB — Cahoj 2.

Boulder hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Webb 1-1-1-2, Furie 1-1-0-0, E. Bush 3-1-0-1, McCarty 4-1-1-2, K. Bush 3-0-0-0, Gomez 3-0-0-0, Arthur 3-1-1-0, Wright 3-1-2-0, Burke 2-1-1-0. Totals 23-7-7-5. 2B — Arthur. SB — McCarty 2, K. Bush, Gomez.

George Washington pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Harris 6-7-7-5-5-5.

Boulder pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — McCarty 4-2-0-0-2-4, Gomez 1 2/3-0-4-0-3-2, McCarty 1.1-5-2-0-0-1.