AURORA — Holy Family and Erie will have the chance to add to their softball trophy collections on the final day of the state tournaments Saturday. The programs at Frederick and Mead can perhaps build ones of their own.
Four of the eight local qualifiers advanced out of the first day of the end-of-the-year tournaments Friday at Aurora Sports Park, placing each within a pair of wins of hoisting a title.
Saturday, No. 2 Holy Family will face No. 6 Mead in an all-area Class 4A semifinal and will face the winner of No. 5 Frederick/No. 1 Lutheran in the afternoon final.
No. 4 Erie will face No. 1 Columbine in the 5A semis.
“Most of us have already been here,” reigning BoCoPreps.com player of the year Isabella Arroyo said of defending champ Holy Family after the Tigers blanked Palmer Ridge and Pueblo South to advance Friday.
“We have a lot of upperclassmen to help the young classmen with the nerves (tomorrow).”
The Tigers, searching for their fourth title in five years, were cool and calm through both Day 1 victories.
Boasted by a stellar pitching tandem, Arroyo threw four shutout innings in a 12-0 win over the 15-seed Bears in the opening round. Freshman Emmaline Humphreys followed with a two-hitter in a 3-0 win over the 10-seed Colts.
Next, they will face Mead for the third time this season — winning 2-1 and 7-1, previously.
The Mavericks’ Day 1 played a little more to the tournament’s long, nail-biting reputation.
First, they overcame a rocky opening to No. 11 Pueblo West, falling down 5-0 with their ace Joslynn Veltien in the circle before rallying to a 16-11 victory.
Katelyn Wiescamp hit a grand slam in the fourth inning and Mary Kathryn Dusza followed with her second home run of the day in the comeback charge.
Veltien then won game No. 61 of her career in the quarterfinals, tossing a four-hitter in a 4-0 win over No. 3 Windsor. The Wizards had beaten the Mavs in their previous three meetings this season.
“We’ve been here,” said Veltien, who is among the current Mead roster who played in the 4A title game in 2020. “We all know what to expect and how the environment is different here. It helps tremendously knowing what we’re getting into.”
Minutes before Mead’s quarterfinal win, No. 5 Frederick beat Riverdale Ridge for the first time in six overall meetings to punch its ticket into Day 2.
The Golden Eagles won their first game in the tournament since 2015, beating No. 12 Golden 5-3 in the opener. They then rallied to beat the Ravens behind a second straight strong offensive performance from Carlie Nagy, who had five RBIs on the day.
“Perseverance, resilience, we’ve been tough in late innings all year long,” said Frederick coach Roger Dufour, whose team trailed in both Day 1 games. “This team just believes in itself.”
In 5A, Erie is two wins away from becoming the first softball program in state history to win a title in all three classifications. The Tigers currently have 12 championships, double the amount of anybody else.
On Day 1, they looked sunk. Apparently just a guise.
After Jaiselyn Hernandez walked off No. 13 ThunderRidge 3-2 in the opener, the senior third baseman and the Tigers rallied out of a 7-0 deficit to beat No. 12 Fossil Ridge 11-9 in the quarterfinals.
Hernandez homered and had five RBIs on the day. Addison Osborne and Molly Nelson homered in a wild, come-from behind win in Game 2.
Next, they will likely face potential Gatorade Player of the Year Araya Ogden of Columbine in the circle tomorrow. The senior ace was marvelous Friday, allowing just two runs in two games.
“It did start off a little shaky today but playing as one definitely helped,” Hernandez said. “Even though we didn’t start playing together as one in the first game, we came together and we realized what we needed to adjust.”
All semifinals games are set for 10 a.m. at Aurora Sports Park. 5A and 4A finals are at 1:30 p.m. The 3A final is at 1 p.m.