LONGMONT – It was pretty obvious the Holy Family softball team had payback on its mind when the Tigers traveled to play Mead on Tuesday.
Well, they got it. And then some.
In a NCAC showdown between fourth-ranked Holy Family and previously unbeaten No. 2 Mead, the Tigers caught fire during a 12-run third inning and pummeled their league rivals for a four-inning, 15-0 victory.
“The energy was just there from the very first inning,” Holy Family senior Cassidy Chvatal said. “We knew that we just wanted to take it to this team, especially after last time. It felt really good today. I think it’s only going to go up from here. There’s a lot of confidence on this team. We’ve got nine seniors and there’s only one way we want to go out.”
Chvatal kept the ball down and threw a lot of drop balls, which helped her throw a two-hit shutout against the Mavericks (14-1, 7-1) and used only 51 pitches. She allowed just two hits and one walk, and struck out three against a Mavericks lineup that scored three earned runs on seven hits against her during a 9-6 win for Mead back on Aug. 27.
While Chvatal lowered her ERA to 3.14 on the season, the Tigers (12-2, 7-0) belted out 12 hits including home runs from Abby Edwards and Carly Eldredge. The Tigers have now outscored their last six opponents 92-1.
“The girls have put in a ton of work and countless hours this season,” Holy Family head coach Moriah Nguyen said. “We’ve been able to get those clutch hits in at the right times and cleaned up our defense a little bit. They just come out ready to go, mentally and physically.”
With two regular season games left, the Tigers will play Windsor on Thursday before facing No. 5 Silver Creek (10-4, 7-0) on Saturday in a game that will likely decide the NCAC championship.
With only a tough Thursday road game, also against Silver Creek, left on the schedule, Mead head coach Amanda Macaluso said she’s looking forward to seeing how the Mavericks handle their first opportunity to bounce back from a loss in 2020.
“We never expect that but given the timing of it, this is exactly when something like that needs to happen,” Macaluso said. “Our focus is on getting to the postseason and not necessarily on winning the conference or anything like that. It’s really about shoring up what we need to shore up and games like this help us do that.”
With Holy Family and Mead both destined for the postseason, both teams were pleased on Tuesday morning when the Colorado High School Activities Association announced that it was making some changes to this year’s unusual state tournament format. With the entire 16-team tournament previously scheduled to be played in a single day, the first round and quarterfinals will now be played at home sites, hosted by the higher seed, on Oct. 6 and Oct. 8, respectively.
Both Mead and Holy Family are top-six teams in the Class 4A RPI standings, so each is likely to get at least one home game.
The CHSAA also announced that roster limits will be expanded from 12 to 15, effective immediately.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Macaluso said. “We’re lucky to have some depth in pitching so we weren’t too concerned about the four games in one day. But the fact that they’re really taking a look at it and trying to do what’s best for the athletes is huge. We also love that we have the potential to host a game up here. Before COVID hit, that was actually one of our goals.”