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Softball: Skyline edges Longmont to continue strong start

The Falcons are 4-1 while the Trojans are 4-2

  • LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Longmont's Shyanne Pohl tags out Skyline's Yesika Gaytan at third. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Skyline's Tara Lindgren is safe at home before the tag of Longmont's Ruby Anderson.The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer

    LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Skyline's Alexandra Kennedy pitches against Longmont. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Skyline's Tiffany Mein throws out the runner at first. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Skyline's Sylvia Santos is late on the tag on Longmont's Ruby Anderson at second. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Longmont's Megan Leick pitches against Skyline. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Longmont's Megan Leick pitches against Skyline. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Skyline's Alexandra Kennedy pitches against Longmont. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Skyline's Sylvia Santos get to the pop up for the out. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

  • LONGMONT, CO - September 3, 2020: Skyline's Sylvia Santos is late on the tag on Longmont's Caitlyn Rangel at second. The Longmont Trojans played the Skyline Falcons at Skyline on September 3, 2020. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

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LONGMONT —The remaining schedules for the softball programs at Skyline and Longmont need a second glance. Because as good as the starts to the fall for the Falcons and Trojans have been, their reward is a lineup of opponents stickier than goo.

Thursday, the two one-loss teams faced one another for the first of two inside the new and fearsome NCAC League. Evenly matched for six innings, they played ‘Hot Potato’ with the lead — and not until Skyline pitcher Alexandra Kennedy pitched herself out of a jam in the seventh did the Falcons narrowly prevail, 8-7.

The win moved Skyline to 4-1, and 3-0 in league, while Longmont stayed a promising 4-2 (1-1). But now comes a brutal test for each.

Then another.

And another.

This week’s CHSAAnow.com Class 4A top-10 rankings featured five NCAC teams with Mead at No. 1, Holy Family third, defending-champ Erie fourth, Silver Creek sixth and Windsor ninth. And all of them await the Falcons and Trojans over the final month of the regular season.

“The big focus is on growth,” Skyline coach Pam Arnold said when asked to look ahead. “Growth every game, every pitch, every practice. We’re going to be working hard to come out with as many wins as we can, but more importantly, the growth of our players.”

It was development by way of poise for Kennedy, who stayed unflustered on the mound despite the team’s eight fielding errors.

The sophomore pitched well — allowing just four hits and one earned run.

Her best moments, though, came in the seventh. She took a deep breath after an error put the tying run at second. Even took a quick stroll around the mound. Then with two outs, she induced a grounder and the fielding behind her was true.

“I’ve been iffy a few times (this year),” Kennedy said. “But I trust my teammates to get the outs and back me up no matter what.”

As part of four lead changes, Ruby Anderson walked and Caitlyn Rangel singled in the second for Longmont, and both eventually scored on a passed ball to go up 2-0.

The Falcons answered in the bottom of the frame when Tiffani Mein cleared the bases with a shot off the wall. And then rallied again thanks to back-to-back RBI singles from Hannah Johnson and Tehya Salomon in their four-run sixth.

“As a team we came in and we said we were going to stick through this no matter what and work through every play,” Arnold said. “And we were fortunate enough to come out with the victory.”

Longmont had won four of five coming into Thursday, scoring double-digits in all four of its wins. Megan Leick was dealt her first loss in four appearances, allowing four hits, while walking seven and fanning seven.

“I think she pitched great,” Trojans coach Kelsey Walters said. “She did her job.”

Skyline hosts Silver Creek Tuesday, while Longmont is at Erie.