David R. Jennings / Daily Camera
Legacy’s Jordan Sheard takes a big swing during regional play on Saturday. The Lightning’s loss keeps the team out of the state tournament for the first time since 2002.

BROOMFIELD — The Aurora Sports Complex just isn’t going to be the same next weekend.

Columbine’s Carly Perry made sure of that on Saturday, her towering grand slam late in the afternoon all but assuring that, for the first time since 2002, the Legacy Lightning was not going to make an appearance at the Class 5A state softball tournament.

What a weird feeling it’s going to be. But with back-to-back shutout losses against Douglas County (7-0) and Columbine (8-0), Legacy fell surprisingly silent in the double-elimination Region 8 tournament it was hosting.

“I think, to be honest, we were overplaying because we got anxious,” said head coach Dawn Gaffin, whose team finished 16-6 attempting to defend its 2013 title. “We have never been in that situation, and we just tried to overdo things and couldn’t compensate for that.

“It’s not a script that I would have written, but that’s how it played out.”

After defeating Columbine in the morning opener, 6-0, Legacy’s mistakes added up while the Lightning’s confidence at the plate dwindled. Facing Douglas County’s Hannah Storey and the Rebels’ Jennifer Romero, Legacy managed just six hits in 14 innings and never mounted a serious threat against either hurler.

Problems surfaced even before that, catcher Emily Taggart said.

“We started out the day strong and scored like four runs that very first inning, but even towards the end of that game we just got complacent,” the sophomore said. “I think we ended the game with the same score that we started out with, so it’s not like we were progressively scoring more.

“Nothing went our way. I had a big hit to start out, then I think I went 0-for the rest of the day so I feel a personal connection to that. We had energy, but people played better than us today.”

Taggart’s early two-run home run got Legacy the start it envisioned, and Haley Smith was dealing early in the circle with no walks and eight strikeouts in their victory.

In the regional championship game, though, Smith allowed the Huskies nine hits and the defense was of little help. Douglas County, which won its third straight regional title, used three Legacy errors to plate four key runs in the fifth inning, and Storey completed the shutout despite just two strikeouts.

“We’ve seen pitchers like this the whole year,” Gaffin said.

“(Douglas County) had a really great defense, and we didn’t get the bat on the ball a lot,” Taggart said. “When we did, their fielders played very well. We also made some mistakes in the field.

“I felt like all of us were just not really sure what to do at that point. We had lost games before this season, but there were always other days, other practices to work out the kinks or someone who was performing well that we could take energy from.”

Looking to avoid any elimination situation altogether, Legacy instead found itself battling the Rebels (13-9) in a lose-and-go-home scenario. Both teams went swiftly through four innings, and when Columbine scored twice in the fifth it appeared Legacy was going to fight right back in it.

Smith singled and gave way to courtesy runner Gianna Ball, who made a good read on a wild pitch to get from second to third with one out. But, perhaps with a misread on another pitch with Jordan Sheard up, Ball was caught too far off third base and picked off. Legacy came up empty.

Columbine loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, and Perry — who entered the day hitting a whopping .493 — crushed a pitch over the left field wall to make it 6-0 in a flash. Kasey Cruz added a two-run home run in the seventh for the Rebels.

“I got up there thinking how cool it would be to hit a grand slam, and when I was in the box I just wanted to swing my hardest,” said Perry, who finished 4-for-4 in the game. “It’s crazy to think we beat a team like that.”

One bright spot for Legacy was Alyssa Geist, who was the only LHS player to have a hit in all three games.

Follow Adam on Twitter: twitter.com/AdamDunivan24

CLASS 5A REGION 8 CHAMPIONSHIP

Douglas County 7, Legacy 0

At Broomfield Industrial Park

Douglas County 003 040 0 — 7 9 0

Legacy 000 000 0 — 0 2 3

W — Storey. L — Haley Smith.

Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Katelyn Kubitschek 2-0-0-0, Alyssa Geist 2-0-1-0, Celyn Whitt 1-0-0-0, Emily Taggart 3-0-0-0, Haley Smith 2-0-1-0, Megan Foley 3-0-0-0, Jordan Sheard 2-0-0-0, Haley Cordova 0-0-0-0, Trisha Cook 2-0-0-0, Kamryn Brothers 2-0-0-0. Totals 19-0-2-0.

Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Smith 7-9-7-3-4-8.

CLASS 5A STATE QUALIFIER

Columbine 8, Legacy 0

At Broomfield Industrial Park

Columbine 000 024 2 — 8 15 1

Legacy 000 000 0 — 0 4 1

W — Jennifer Romero. L — Smith.

Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kubitschek 3-0-0-0, Geist 3-0-1-0, Whitt 3-0-0-0, Taggart 3-0-0-0, Smith 3-0-1-0, Foley 2-0-2-0, Cook 2-0-0-0, Sheard 2-0-0-0, Cordova 1-0-0-0, Brothers 2-0-0-0. Totals 24-0-4-0.

Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Smith 7-15-8-8-1-6.

Legacy 6, Columbine 0

At Broomfield Industrial Park

Columbine 000 000 0 — 0 5 0

Legacy 420 000 x — 6 5 2

W — Smith. L — Romero.

Legacy hitting (ab-r-h-rbi) — Kubitschek 2-2-1-0, Geist 2-1-1-1, Whitt 3-1-2-3, Taggart 3-1-1-2, Smith 3-0-0-0, Foley 2-0-0-0, Sheard 3-0-0-0, Cook 3-0-0-0, Brothers 1-1-0-0. Totals 22-6-5-6.

Legacy pitching (ip-h-r-er-bb-so) — Smith 7-5-0-0-0-8.