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Softball: Holy Family cruises to regional championship

Tigers outscore pair of opponents by combined 23-1 Friday

WESTMINSTER — Postseason softball has arrived and with a three-peat on their agenda, the Holy Family Tigers know that no step can be overlooked.

After a dominant 19-4 regular season which included a 6-0 mark in the Class 4A Northern Colorado Athletic Conference, the Tigers entered Friday’s Region 8 tournament still needing two more wins for a state tournament berth. Those required victories came with relatively little stress, though, as No. 2 seed Holy Family beat Falcon, 13-0, and Pueblo County, 10-1, at Westfield Village Park in Westminster.

“The team really showed up to play,” head coach Moriah Nguyen said. “It was overall a great team effort and we’re excited for next weekend (at state).”

Holy Family’s pitching, in particular, has excelled in recent weeks and that continued on Friday. In the second game against Pueblo County, freshman Emmaline Humphreys allowed just one run in four innings and sophomore southpaw Isabella Arroyo struck out five Hornets over the final three innings. The Tigers extended their streak of allowing one run or fewer to six games, a promising trend with the state tournament set to begin next Friday.

Offensively, it took until Holy Family’s third time through the order for things to fully start clicking. Arroyo led off the fifth inning with a single and after junior right fielder Jordan Peterson bunted her over, junior second baseman Kaylee McDonald drove an RBI triple and scored on a throwing error, giving Holy Family its first lead of the game, 3-1.

“Obviously, our pitching was lights out, Izzy (Arroyo) threw a heck of a game and so did Emmaline, but our bats really came through,” Nguyen said. “Once we got our timing down, it was kind of contagious hitting after that.”

Holy Family went on to add seven more runs of insurance courtesy of RBI hits from Humphreys, sophomore catcher Makaila Moosbrugger, sophomore shortstop Danielle Duran, senior third baseman Hannah Juencke and an Arroyo two-run home run.

“The positivity coming from the girls is inspiring,” Juencke said. “It really helps us to pick each other up and make these good things happen.”

Juencke added that the Tigers’ clean game defensively was also due to an “empowering” energy.

The focus now for Nguyen is preparing Holy Family for state, which will take place at the Aurora Sports Park. While sweeping regionals was enjoyable, Nguyen reminded her team that bigger goals remain.

“The biggest part is to make sure that we’re mentally prepared for whatever is thrown at us and the pressure as well,” Nguyen said.