The Lions girls softball team came into Tuesday’s contest with Weld Central as the 5th seed in the state tournament. A strong pitching performance by senior Shantel Koester, and some timely hitting by sophomore Brooklyn Enny, powered the Lions to 6-0 shutout. With the win the Lions advance to the second round as one of the remaining eight.
At any level of softball, great pitching, good defense, and big time hits are a recipe for winning playoff games. That is exactly what the Lions got Tuesday evening. Koester was exceptional in the circle for the Lions allowing only two hits, to a deep and talented Weld Central lineup. Weld came into the game hitting .451 as a team. They had scored 178 runs on the season. That number stayed at 178 following the encounter with Koester. Defensively, the Lions backed up Koester with fantastic defense all over the field. Shortstop Brooklyn Enny, and third baseman Reanna Ortiz, and second baseman Sam Koester, made play after play to keep the Weld runners off the bases. Junior Gyli Hay made several tough catches in center field, and senior catcher Hannah Schweiger was her usual all-state self behind the plate.
The first inning started off like many Lions games this season with two early runs. It would stay 2-0 through the 5th inning and neither team could generate much offense during the hot afternoon. One advantage the Lions always enjoy is sitting in the shade, while the other team bakes in the sun facing due west. The jersey choice for Weld Central, wearing all black from head to toe, may have contributed to their tired looking finish. Lions finally got to the weary looking Weld pitcher in the 6th inning.
With Hay leading off and reaching on a single, Jazmyn Enny reached on a marvelous bunt that died a few feet away from home plate. Shantel Koester then found first base on another single, advancing the runners, loading the bases, and setting the stage for B. Enny. In front of a large Lions crowd, including a big contingent from the Ennys’ family, there was a sense that the league’s leading hitter was primed to come through, and come through she did. Enny smacked a line drive to the fence scoring Hay and her sister Jazmyn on a close play at the plate. As Jazmyn rounded third headed for home, the big Weld Central catcher fully blocked the plate as she caught the ball. The inevitable collision shook up both players, but the catcher took the worst of it, and Enny was safe. After a sacrifice fly scored Koester, what happened next further showed the catcher for Weld wasn’t quite recovered from the play. Hannah Schweiger sent a long fly ball to center that was caught. As the throw came in, Brooklyn Enny noticed that the catcher had walked towards the dugout thinking the inning was over, and she broke for home. With nobody there to catch the throw, she was easily safe providing the final run of the inning, and the game. In the final inning, Koester dispatched what was left of the Weld Central chances with a quick and clean inning.
That was not the only good news on the night for Lyons. With some scoreboard watching after the game, they learned that an old nemesis would come through with some much welcomed help. Thirteenth seeded Brush knocked off the four seed, Rocky Mountain, meaning that Lyons will host another state playoff game on Thursday, October 8th, versus that same Brush team. While the Lions will not take that game lightly, they expect to be competing into the weekend at the championships in Aurora.