State semifinal heartbreak for Jeffco softball teams

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 10/14/20

AURORA — The strange and different softball season due to COVID-19 came to a close Saturday, Oct. 10, for Chatfield, Wheat Ridge and D’Evelyn. The three top teams in Class 5A and 4A Jeffco all …

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State semifinal heartbreak for Jeffco softball teams

Posted

AURORA — The strange and different softball season due to COVID-19 came to a close Saturday, Oct. 10, for Chatfield, Wheat Ridge and D’Evelyn.

The three top teams in Class 5A and 4A Jeffco all advanced to the state semifinals Saturday morning at Aurora Sports Park, but the conclusion of the season all ended in heartbreak for the Chargers, Farmers and Jaguars.

Cherokee Trail 5, Chatfield 1

The Chargers were one the favorites going into Saturday as the highest seed remaining in the 5A state tournament after top-seeded Rock Canyon and No. 2 Broomfield suffered quarterfinal losses.

The No. 3 Chargers were looking to grab the school’s first state softball title since Chatfield won it all back in 1997. However, No. 10 Cherokee Trail had other plans.

The Cougars broke the ice in a scoreless tie with a 4-run top of the sixth inning. Junior Caitlin Cushenbery delivered the big blow with a 2-run home run to start the scoring. Cushenbery added an insurance run with a solo home run in the top of the seventh.

Chatfield (15-4 record) mustered up a rally in the sixth and seventh innings, but was only able to push one run across with junior Dakota Dipaloa on an RBI single by Peyton Shepard. The Chargers only had six hits, all singles in the loss.

“I knew we would go as far as our bats would take us because I knew what Izzy could do on the mound,” Chatfield coach Jen Lazzeri said. “We just got outplayed today and our bats disappeared at the wrong time. We do have a lot to celebrate for sure.”

Chatfield senior pitcher Izzy DiNapoli finished off her incredible run at Chatfield reaching the 600-strikeout mark on her career in her final game. DiNapoli racked up a 41-20 record with a 2.19 ERA during her four years at Chatfield.

“It’s a special group,” Lazzeri said who finished her fourth season at the helm. “This senior group I came in with. They gave us everything they could.”

Madison Shepard, Courtney Bidwell, Morgan Morrell and DiNapoli are the four graduating seniors for the Chargers.

“Those seniors are the cornerstone of what we’ve done here,” Lazzeri said. “Those young kids have a lot to look up to. We’ve been here (state) three years in a row now. We want to make this a regular thing.”

Mead 15, Wheat Ridge 9

No. 1-seeded Wheat Ridge was looking to move into second place with all-state state softball championships by grabbing a seventh state title Saturday.

The Farmers fell behind early with the Mavericks bashing three home runs through the first inning and a half to take a 6-0 lead.

“We gave up six bombs (home runs) today,” Wheat Ridge coach Marty Stricklett said. “That’s hard to overcome in any game against any team.”

The Farmers (17-2 record) did battle back and actually took a 8-7 lead through four innings. The Mavericks’ bats got hot again late scoring seven runs in the final two innings to grab the 15-9 win.

“These girls will learn from this. They came a long way this year,” said Sticklett, who returned to coach the Farmers for one season before retiring from coaching. “I wish we could have finished it out correctly, but we made it to Saturday.”

Dave Thies will now take over the Farmers’ program. Thies was an assistance this year for the Farmers and was on Stricklett’s staff when Wheat Ridge won four 4A state titles from 2008 to 2013.

“I’m glad I came back. It was fun,” Stricklett said. “This was year 25 coaching for me. Nine years coaching at Wheat Ridge we made it to Saturday.”

Holy Family 12, D’Evelyn 7

No. 2-seeded D’Evelyn was one out away from earning a berth into the 4A state title game. The Jaguars led No. 3 Holy Family 6-5 with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, but the Tigers scored seven runs with two outs on their way to an eventual 12-7 win.

“It was a weird ending,” D’Evelyn coach Dan Porreco said. “It was a great game all the way through, but that last inning. We just needed that one more out to win it. Then it just steamrolled on us.”

D’Evelyn led for nearly the entire game. The Jaguars were up 6-1 through three innings.

“I loved how we came out and played,” Porreco said.

Holy Family — eventual state champions with a 9-6 victory over rival Mead in the 4A title game later Saturday afternoon — scored 11 unanswered runs to turn the tide on D’Evelyn.

“We always played the underdog this year with the adversity we had to go through. More than people will ever know,” Porreco said. “I’m proud of these girls. They had an incredible season. Their goal was not completed, but they have to hold their heads up high for what they did.”

Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more coverage go to CHSAANow.com/Jeffco.

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