Softball: Holy Family nearly upsets 5A No. 1 Brighton

BROOMFIELD — We may never know what Saturday’s game meant in the grand scheme of things for Holy Family.

Currently “on the bubble” of the Class 4A regional playoff field according to Tigers coach Mitch Martinez, a win against the Brighton Bulldogs, currently ranked No. 1 in 5A in the poll, would have gone a long way in impressing the selection committee on Sunday.

What appeared to be a long shot for the Tigers became reality as the game wore on and it was only a three-run home run by Brighton’s Melissa Rahrich in the seventh inning that proved to be the difference in a 3-2 win for the Bulldogs.

“I think if we get this game, we have a really good chance of getting in,” said Martinez, who returned to the Tigers’ dugout three weeks ago after undergoing “Peyton Manning” neck surgery just one week into the season. “That’s the way we played down the stretch. We don’t hit the ball very well, so we have to play good defense and we battled … (Brighton) is a good team.”

The Tigers (7-12), who have had Brighton’s number each of the last three years, dodged a few early bullets to keep the game scoreless. Macy Cox struck out Brittany Abeyta with the bases loaded in the first inning to get out of a jam.

In the third, with runners at second and third and nobody out, Cox induced a pop up from Kayla Michel behind first base. Not only did Jazmin Means make the play, she had the wherewithal to throw home to Haley Draudt and get a tagging Rylie Schmeh.

“I knew that we were starting to hit (Rahrich) and I knew that if we could get some runners on in the meat of our order that we would be able to get something in,” Cox said.

Holy Family started the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back singles from Natalie Gardon and Cox. Means’ ground ball to second moved the runners to second and third and then the Tigers got a break. Draudt lined out to second baseman Ayla Robison, but when she turned to try nab Cox at second her throw got away and allowed to Gardon to come home with the first run of the game.

Brighton responded in the seventh, cashing in a error, sacrifice bunt and walk with Rahrich’s three-run home run well over the left field fence.

“Her and the No. 4 batter (Michel) I was really trying to be careful with, cause I know what they can do,” Cox said. “I just made a mistake and it ultimately cost us the game.”

Said Martinez: “We were trying to pitch around her, we really were and we weren’t giving her much. We just missed the pitch, cause we certainly didn’t want her to win it.”

The record doesn’t show it, but the Tigers, who started the season 1-5, certainly played well down the stretch — especially when Martinez returned — but it was a regular season, their first in Class 4A, that didn’t quite go as planned.

“In all aspects of the game we just weren’t jelling early on, but near the end, I think we finally found our groove,” Cox said. “It took a lot though.”

Martinez, who is at full strength, is hopeful that the selection committee looks at their body of work favorably, but understands that nothing is given.

“I told them we’ll see what happens, but we are definitely a bubble team,” he said.

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Brighton 3, Holy Family 2

At Holy Family HS

Brighton (18-1) 000 000 3 — 3 7 1

Holy Family (7-12) 000 001 1 — 2 6 4

W — Melissa Rahrich (12-1). L — Macy Cox (3-7).

Brighton hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Julianna Montoya 3-0-2-0, Rylie Schmeh 3-1-1-0, Melissa Rahrich 4-1-2-3, Kayla Michel 4-0-0-0, Madison Motez 4-0-1-0, Brittany Abeyta 3-0-1-0, Natalie Sanchez 2-0-0-0, Ayla Robison 3-0-0-0, Carley Robison 2-1-0-0-0, Audrey Kobi 0-0-0-0. Totals 28-3-7-3. 2B —Rahrich. HR —Rahrich (two on in 7th).

Holy Family hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Alex Jaros 3-0-0-0, Natalie Gardon 4-1-2-1, Macy Cox 4-0-1-0, Jazmin Means 3-0-1-0, Haley Draudt 3-0-1-0, Skylar Gardner 2-0-0-0, Payton Corah 3-0-1-0, Katelyn Caviness 2-1-0-0, Taryn Cook 3-0-0-0. Totals 26-2-6-1.

Brighton pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Rahrich 7-6-2-1-2-3.

Holy Family pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Cox 7-7-3-2-3-3.