Green Mountain 1, Cherry Creek 2

AURORA – For a team built on batting, Green Mountain’s Ram softball team lost their bid in the state tournament Friday in a pitching duel during which the Rams could manage only two hits.

But Green Mountain’s ace – junior Emily Canaday – responded in kind, holding the Bruins only four hits while striking out nine and surrendering only two walks. Creek Pitcher Alyse Harris, a senior, also gave up four hits, walked two and posted 10 strikeouts.

A close game should have been expected, the Rams went 16-5 for the season; Cherry Creek posted a 16-7 record.

But a low-scoring squeaker wasn’t expected.

“Our bats didn’t come out right away,” said Ram coach Danny Dunn-Abrams. “We are an amazing hitting team and it didn’t show.”

Hitting was almost a no-show for the Bruins, as well. Canaday and some solid fielding by her teammates, kept Cherry Creek’s batters trundling back to the dugout.

Green Mountain shortstop Hannah Pearce was first to break the ice on a sunny but chilly morning, reaching first when the Cherry Creek’s shortstop overthrew first base, but could not advance.

But the Rams took a one-run lead in the bottom of the 5th when junior Taylor Rohlenberg reached first on a muffed pop-up, then advanced to third when Canaday’s slow roller to third was thrown to the fence near first base. After freshman outfielder Kayla Teschetter drew a walk to load the bases, Rohlenberg scored on Megan Brown’s scorcher up the middle.

Pictures from the state softball tournament. Click to view. Photos by George Kochaniec, Jr.
Pictures from the state softball tournament. Click to view. Photos by George Kochaniec, Jr.
But Canaday was tagged out at home after trying to stretch the lead and Pearce’s line drive was snared by the Bruin infield to end the inning, leaving Teschetter sand Brown on base.

Cherry Creek responded in the sixth, when lead-off hitter Taylor Gifford shot a grounder into short left field and she advanced to third when teammate Laura Leonard tried to beat out a bunt and the throw to first sailed high.

With runners at first and third, Canaday went to a full count before striking out sophomore Emily Davies. Then Bruins’ catcher Sami Spring launched a two-run double into center field, sending Gifford and Leonard across the plate. Canaday struck out the next two batters, but the damage was done and the Rams trailed by a run.

The Rams got a base runner to first in the last of the 6th inning when Demi Riecke’s line drive eluded the Bruins’ shortstop with two outs, but Riecke was stranded on first when Rohlenberg smashed another line drive, but straight into a glove at second base for the third out.

Cherry Creek seemed destined to widen the lead as the 7th inning began. Bruins’ outfielder Berit Eppard walked. Meagan Iritani was sent in to run for Eppard and reached second when the throw after Bruin outfielder Katie Armstrong ‘s bunt went awry. With runners at first and second with no outs, Cherry Creek’s Lauren Rinetti bunted, but was thrown out at first and Armstrong was tagged out at second. Iritani tried to steal third and was picked off for the third out, sending the game into the last half of the 7th with Green Mountain trailing 2-1.

That would be it for the Rams, though. A ground out by Canaday, a fly ball fielded in shallow right field by outfielder Tara Grout and a strike out by Teschetter ended the Rams’ season.

“You’re in a state (playoff) game, you have to be ready,” Dunn-Abrams said. “Unfortunately we took a back seat in this one.”

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