LOVELAND — Laurin Krings has proven herself to be one of the top pitchers in all of high school softball in Colorado over the course of her varsity career, and she proved it again Tuesday when she piled up the strikeouts in a low-scoring game. But the pitching performance did not look like it was going to be enough as Loveland trailed the Broomfield Eagles 2-1 in the later portion of the game.
So she took matters into her own hands.
With an 0-1 count in the bottom of the fifth inning, Krings drilled a pitch deep to centerfield and cleared the fence for a two-run home run to give Loveland its first lead at 3-2. From there, she shut down Broomfield with six outs in six at-bats, including four strikeouts, to help the team hang on for the win.
“It feels really good,” Krings said. “We came together as a team and did what we had to do.”
Krings, who was 0-for-2 with a groundout and popup before coming to the plate in the fifth, was looking to make contact and keep the inning alive with Laynee Case on first base. Instead, her swing found the sweet spot of the bat and went out of the yard for what would be the game-winning hit.
“I was just trying to get a base hit for my team to keep the rally going,” Krings said. “I was looking for contact. When I hit it, it felt really good, but that was not my intention to hit it over.”
The home run was the top highlight on a dominant afternoon for Krings.
In the circle, she struck out 16 batters, walked no one, and allowed just three hits and a hit batter in seven innings of work. The leader in strikeouts in the state coming into Tuesday credits the time put in with her travel ball team this past summer and catcher Elena Gerhard coming back as why she has improved her senior year.
“I was seeing the best competition, so that really helps,” Krings said. “But it helps having my catcher back behind the plate. We have that chemistry together and I trust her calling the pitches we need. I don’t think I could ask for a better catcher.”
Broomfield made things tough for Loveland early with two manufactured runs early with leadoff hitter Linnea Balder getting on base with a pair of singles. She moved up on two wild pitches and scored on a groundout in the first inning, and an error on a popup allowed her to score again in the third to keep them in front early.
The game turned into a pitching duel with freshman Breana Fiala matching the shutout innings early, giving up one unearned run off one hit and one sacrifice bunt while striking out three through the first four innings.
“I think the game went exactly how I thought it would go,” Broomfield coach Kale Gilmore said. “I thought it would be a one-run game, and the team that made the fewest mistakes or played the cleanest would probably win it. I’m proud of the way the girls fought.”
The difference, according to Gilmore, was Krings and one pitch from Fiala that caught too much of the zone in the fifth.
“We don’t see a lot of girls with (Krings’) caliber,” Gilmore said. “We’ll take it as a learning lesson… I think we just ran into a good player on a really good day, and if you play this game long enough, that’s going to happen.”
Loveland came through late for the win, but both teams hope to use Tuesday’s game as fuel to continue improving this season and to make a run in the playoffs next month.
“We proved we can hang with the top teams and that we can go far if we work hard as a team,” Krings said.
“It was a great battle and a great mid-season test for us,” Gilmore said. “I’m glad we got (Loveland) right now and I hope we see them down the road.”