The brackets for Colorado’s softball regional tournaments were released on Monday morning and, unsurprisingly, several BoCoPreps.com teams highlighted the lists in the state’s largest classifications.
Primarily seeded based on where teams landed in the final RPI standings, Holy Family, Broomfield and Silver Creek all earned the right to host regionals on Saturday. All three teams entered the 2019 season with young rosters and questions that needed answering, but apparently had plenty left in the tank after reaching their respective state tournaments last fall.
For defending Class 4A state champion Holy Family in particular, entering the postseason among the state’s eight regional hosts is a pleasant surprise.
“To be honest, we kind of came into the season with our only goal being to get better as the season goes along,” Holy Family head coach Mitch Martinez said. “We knew we had some young kids who hadn’t started before and we were just focused on the next game. But our girls do the work and one day you look up and say, ‘Hey, we might be alright this season and we could be right back in this thing.’”
All regional tournaments are double-elimination and the top two teams from each four-team region will advance to the state tournament next Friday and Saturday at Aurora Sports Park. Holy Family (21-1) will be the No. 8 seed and will host No. 31 Green Mountain (11-12) in the first round of the Region 8 tournament.
If Holy Family makes a return appearance at the state tournament, it will be in large part because of the Tigers’ ability to reload in the pitching department. Juniors Cassidy Chvatal (2.14 ERA) and Jaelen Giron (1.94 ERA) have been outstanding while combining to throw 122 innings for the Tigers and each posting a no-hitter this season.
The Silver Creek Raptors, who lost to Holy Family in last year’s state semifinals, will host the No. 27 Air Academy in the first round of the Region 6 tournament. With a young roster of their own, the Raptors (18-5) are averaging 9.3 runs per game behind ace pitcher Maddie Kuehl, who has a 1.35 ERA and 183 strikeouts in 103.1 innings in the circle.
In the Class 5A playoffs, No. 6 Broomfield (19-4) will host the Region 6 tournament and will play the No. 27 Grandview Wolves (11-12), who the Eagles scrimmaged in the preseason, in the first round.
The Eagles are paced by junior Bryna Kapelke, who batted .556 with five home runs, 11 triples, seven doubles and 36 RBIs in 23 regular-season games, and also have a young team with state tournament experience.
“It’s always good to host,” Eagles head coach Kale Gilmore said. “I told the girls the hay is kind of already in the barn for us. There aren’t really a whole lot of new things we’re going to do or new things teams are going to throw at us. At this point, it all just comes down to execution and effort.”
Legacy (15-8) will travel to host Loveland (21-2) as the No. 13 seed in the Region 4 tournament. The Lightning, who reached the quarterfinals last season, will face No. 20 Douglas County (14-9) in the first round with a likely second-round matchup against Loveland should the Legacy girls win their first game.
The Lightning lost 2-1 to 2018 Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year Lauren Krings and Loveland on Oct. 3. Krings hit two home runs and pitched a complete game to lead Loveland to victory in the contest despite 11 strikeouts in seven innings from Legacy starter Hannah Farley.
Power-hitting Erie (16-7) enters the 4A playoffs as the 12th overall seed and will travel to No. 5 Wheat Ridge (18-5) and play No. 21 Ponderosa (11-12) in the first round of the Region 3 tournament. Tigers seniors Kat Sackett (12), Madysun Vaughan (10) and Lauren Russell combined to hit 28 home runs during the regular season.
Both No. 10 Mead (16-7) and No. 26 Niwot (12-11) will travel to host No. 7 Pueblo Central (14-8) for the Region 7 tournament. Mead will face No. 23 Pueblo East (10-13) in the first round. Niwot will take on Pueblo Central to open the bracket.
In the 3A playoffs, which fields three teams at each regional, No. 18 Peak to Peak (12-11) will travel to No. 2 Basalt for the Region 2 tournament. The Pumas will face No. 15 Lamar (13-10) in the first round.
The No. 12-seed Lyons Lions (13-10), who haven’t reached the state tournament since 2010, will play No. 21 Holyoke (11-10) in the first round of the Region 5 tournament, hosted by No. 5 Riverdale Ridge (20-3).