BROOMFIELD – It was not the prettiest game the Loveland Indians have played this year, but it ended with the scoreboard in their favor yet again.
Loveland (19-1, 8-0) got two solo home runs from Lauren Krings, and that ended up being the only runs it would need in a 2-1 win over the Legacy Lightning (12-5, 4-3) on Thursday.
“It was a great team win,” Loveland’s Elana Gerhard said. “We fought through a lot of tough stuff. It was not our best game, but we ended up fighting through it and winning anyway.”
The game was dominated early by the two pitchers stepping into the circle. Legacy’s Hannah Farley came out in the first inning and struck out the side to start the game and had seven through the first three innings.
“We have to follow the game plan, and (Hannah) did that,” Legacy coach Dawn Giffin said.
Countering her for Loveland was Krings, who was able to get most of her outs with soft grounders in the infield. The strikeouts came as well with six for the game.
“There’s a lot of drive and (Lauren) is really focused and knows what she wants,” said Gerhard, the team’s catcher. “She’s really in it for the team and wants to do her best every game.”
It was Krings who broke up the scoreless game with a lead-off home run to left field in the top of the fourth for Loveland’s first base hit of the game. In her next at-bat in the sixth, Krings again drilled a pitch over the fence in left field for the team’s final run. The senior has 11 home runs for the season with a week to go before regional competition is set.
Legacy did not find much success at the plate early, but the team was able to get baserunners on thanks to four errors in the game. Two errors in the fourth put runners in scoring position, only to see Krings get a strikeout and groundout to short to end the threat.
In the sixth, the threat from two errors and a bunt single to load the bases led to Kendall Aragon scoring on a wild pitch for Legacy. On the same play, Gaffin sent pinch runner Reese Mansur home from third to try and steal another run for the tie, but Mansur was called out on a tag from Gerhard and the call stood after her plea with the umpires.
“We took a chance trying to steal home,” Gaffin said. “We have to take chances and have to make things happen. That play didn’t make or break the ball game. We have to string those hits together.”
One more scoring chance for Legacy came in the bottom seventh when Alex Genty hit a two-out double to put another runner in scoring position. Krings faced leadoff hitter Riley Olson next and got her to ground softly back to her in the circle for the easy out to end a scoring threat for the third time.
“It was a lot of just believing in each other,” Gerhard said. “If we didn’t get that one play, the runner would get on and somebody was going to get the next one. We just picked ourselves up.”
Through 20 games, Loveland has won 19 and is still unbeaten in the Front Range League. Only a few more games remain for the No. 3 team in Class 5A this year, and the team hopes to finish strong and carry the momentum into the postseason.
“We need to have a lot of focus, but we need to have a lot more fun, too,” Gerhard said.
On the other side, Legacy hopes to regroup and clean up a few things in the final weeks before regionals.
“It’s just basic fundamentals, following the game plan and knowing where we need to go with things,” Gaffin said. “It’s just a couple of things, literally. We’ll get there. I have complete and total faith in this group.”