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File, The Gazette

Double-elimination format. The winners of games four and five in each region will qualify for the state tournament. All games on Saturday. Games 1 and 2 begin at 10 a.m., followed by games 3 and 4 at 12:15 and a state-qualifying game at 2:30.

CLASS 5A

Region 4

Pine Creek Eagles

Game data: No. 4 Loveland (19-3-1) vs. No. 29 Pine Creek (14-9) … At Barnes Sports Complex in Loveland. The winner of Game 1 will play either No. 13 Legend or No. 20 Prairie View for the region championship.

Scouting report: Despite claiming their second straight 5A CSML title, the Pine Creek Eagles enter the 5A Region 4 tournaments as underdogs, facing No. 4 Loveland in the first round thanks to Loveland’s star in the circle. Laurin Krings leads the Indians with a .529 batting average, 42 RBIs and is ranked third in the state with 13 home runs. Krings is also 18-3 in the circle with a 0.46 ERA through 152 innings pitched, ranking her in the top 4 in the nation.

The Indians are ranked among the top 33 programs nationally at 19-3-1, but have lost two of their last four games in 1-0 nail-biters.

Pine Creek has won five of its last six, including a walk-off win over Rampart for the league championship in the regular-season finale. The Eagles’ high-powered offense has scored on average 12.3 runs, all the while holding opponents to 6.4 runs.

Pine Creek has a well-balanced lineup, led by Katie Spieth who is batting .565 with 38 RBIs and six home runs. Lourdes Martinez also has 38 RBIs, batting .506, while Gerilyn Martinez has 34 and a .531 batting average. Sarah Gardner leads the team in home runs with seven and has 28 RBIs.

Region 5

Rampart Rams

Game data: No. 3 Fossil Ridge (19-4) vs. No. 30 Rampart (15-8) … Rolland Moore Park in Fort Collins. The winner of Game 1 will play either No. 14 Arapahoe or No. 19 Castle View for the region championship.

Scouting report: The Rams are ready to get back on the winning side of things after dropping two of their last three games. Rampart’s first challenge of regionals will be No. 3 Fossil Ridge, who has earned a top-15 rank nationally — but it comes with a catch.

Last week Fossil Ridge’s coaching staff was suspended for the remainder of the regular season and any postseason games due to a self-reported infraction during a late September game against Mountain Range.

“During a game against Mountain Range on Saturday, Fossil Ridge played an ineligible player in an attempt to avoid a substitution infraction,” a CHSAANow.com report stated. “Two athletes were advised by the Fossil Ridge coaching staff to switch jerseys in the dugout in an attempt to cover up the error.”

It is unclear who will be coaching the Sabercats this weekend through the regional tournament.

Fossil Ridge has four players with 20 or more RBIs, led by Kate Delaney who is batting .597 with 37 RBIs and seven home runs. Kristen Reed has a .474 BA with 35 RBIs and 10 home runs. The Sabercats also have a young star in the circle in Nikki McGaffin who is 12-0 with a 1.81 ERA through 73.1 innings pitched.

Rampart has three batters hitting over .500 and at least 90 plate appearances — and they’re all underclassmen. The Rams are led by a sophomore duo of Brianna Jennings and Jayda Randle who are hitting .519 and .507, respectively. Jennings has 40 RBIs and eight home runs, and Randle has 32. Freshman Kaylee Sheets is hitting .506 with 37 RBIs.

CLASS 4A

Region 2

Cheyenne Mountain Indians

Game data: No. 8 Pueblo South (16-7) vs. No. 25 Cheyenne Mountain (13-10) … At CSU Pueblo. The winner will face either No. 9 Thomas Jefferson or No. 24 D’Evelyn for the Region 2 championship.

Scouting report: Saturday’s round one game will be a rematch of Cheyenne Mountain’s heartbreaking eight-inning loss to Pueblo South in the regular-season finale. South claimed a 4-3 win after forging a comeback in the top of the seventh. Cheyenne Mountain had five errors in the loss.

Prior, Cheyenne Mountain had a streaky regular season, starting the year 1-3 before going on a five-game streak, and bouncing in and out of the win column the rest of the way. But the Indians still managed a third-place finish in the 5A/4A Pikes Peak conference.

Cheyenne Mountain is led by Katelyn Ralston, who had a stunning sophomore season last year, and continued her success in 2018. She is batting .603 with 35 RBIs — 13 more than the team’s next-leading batter Grace Gustafson who has a .369 batting average and 22 RBIs. Ralston also has the team’s only home runs with five, and is 12-7 in the circle with a 2.95 ERA and three shutouts.

Ralston and Gustafson are joined by Olivia Unger and Jenna Randall who have 15 and 14 RBIs on the season, respectively.

Pueblo South is stacked with a balanced batting order with eight players with 10 or more RBIs, led by Miranda Algien who has knocked in 36 runs. Makayla Keck is the team’s most consistent hitter, batting .528 with 28 RBIs. Keck is also 12-5 in the circle with a 1.92 ERA and 136 strikeouts.

Region 4

Widefield Gladiators

Game data: No. 4 Golden (17-6) vs. No. 29 Widefield (14-9) … At Ulysses Sports Complex in Golden. The winner of Game 1 will take on either No. 13 Pueblo West or No. 20 Niwot at 11:15 for the Region 4 championship.

Scouting report: Widefield will make its first regional appearance since 2013 to face No. 4 Golden in the opening game. On paper, the Gladiators and Demons are evenly matched, with Widefield averaging 8.9 runs with Golden having a slight edge averaging nine. As a team, the Gladiators bat .375, while Golden has a team batting average of .371.

But one factor that will not show up on paper is experience. Golden won last year’s Region 4 tournament and placed third in 2016.

They’re led by the Middleton twins, Makenzie and Makayla who bat .541 and .512, respectively with a combined 66 RBIs and 15 home runs. The Demons are a hard-hitting team with 24 dingers and a team slugging percentage of .612.

Cassidy Paulson is Golden’s top threat in the circle at 17-6 and a 3.33 ERA. She has struck out 109 batters and allowed 65 earned runs through 136.2 innings.

The Gladiators are led by Savannah Valdez who is batting .537 with 20 RBIs. Jocelyn Garcia has also knocked in 20 runs and leads the team with six homers. Eight total batters have 12 or more RBIs this season.

Widefield’s Dana Atencio has appeared in 14 games with a 7-5 record and a 4.26 ERA. Hannah Hall has a 4.68 ERA through 12 appearances and four wins.

Region 5

Elizabeth Cardinals

Game data: No. 14 Northridge (14-9) vs. No. 19 Elizabeth (15-8) at Broomfield Industrial Park. Winner will play either No. 3 Holy Family or No. 30 Ponderosa in the Region 5 championship.

Scouting report: The Cardinals enter regional playoffs flying on a 12-game winning streak and a 4A CSML championship hoping to build off of last year’s postseason run.

Elizabeth qualified for the state playoffs out of Region 6 last year, and upset No. 2 Golden in the first round of the 4A state tournament before falling in the second round.

The Cardinals will face Northridge in the first round of regionals. The Grizzlies have won three straight heading into the weekend.

Northridge is led by Haley Chaves who has knocked in 30 RBIs, batting .403. Sidney Schaffer leads the team with a .530 batting average and 18 RBIs. Kalani Hikida has five home runs and 28 RBIs. Six batters in the Northridge lineup have hit 12 or more runs in this season.

Kennedy Michnewicz is the Grizzlies’ go-to girl in the circle with 17 starts. She is 9-7 with a 4.23 ERA and 111 strikeouts. Sophomore Kaitlyn Frank is 5-1 in six starts with 17 strikeouts through 25 innings.

Elizabeth averages 11.5 runs, starting fast with an average three runs scored in the first inning. They have a .470 team batting average and are led by Kylie Pfannensteil who has 38 RBIs, five home runs and bats .529. Sarah Geislinger is the team’s most consistent hitter with a .541 average and 20 RBIs. Eight batters have 12 or more RBIs, including six with 20 or more.

Pfannensteil is also the Cardinals’ most consistent threat in the circle with a 13-4 record and 104 strikeouts through 109.1 innings. She has four shutouts and a 4.99 ERA.

Region 6

Mesa Ridge Grizzlies

Game data: No. 11 Rifle (15-6) vs. No. 22 Mesa Ridge (16-7) … At Barnes Sports Complex in Loveland. The winner will play wither No. 6 Mountain View or No. 27 Evergreen for the Region 6 championship.

Scouting report: After a loss to Elizabeth, sealing their second-place fate in the 4A CSML, Mesa Ridge went off in the last three games of the regular season to prepare for another regional run. The Grizzlies outscored opponents 35-11 in the final three games.

Last year was just the second season above .500 for Mesa Ridge since 2012, but it was knocked out of the Region 1 tournament early.

This year, however, the Grizzlies have firepower and a young team eager to continue their postseason push.

Mesa Ridge is led by sophomore Isabella Quintana who has 30 RBIs, three home runs and a .451 batting average through 22 games. Fellow sophomore Ariadna Martinez is batting .444 with 23 RBIs and a pair of dingers. Five other Mesa Ridge batters have 13 or more RBIs, each batting above .370 with 20 or more games played.

Quintana and junior Kylee Bunnell split the work in the circle with eight starts each, led by Bunnell who is 7-1 with a 2.77 ERA and 50 strikeouts. Quintana is 8-5 with a 5.78 ERA.

Rifle averages 10.2 runs, while Mesa Ridge is not far behind with 9.5. The Bears are led by two nearly identical players - they even have the same first name. Kaitlyn Harris leads the team in runs batted in with 38, and has five home runs. Kaitlyn Jackson has 30 RBIs and six dingers. The two bat .443 and .441, respectively, and also lead the team in slugging percentage. Jackson with .955 and Harris with .835.

Jackson has also started in all 22 games in the circle, finishing the regular season with a 16-6 record and a 2.45 ERA. She struck out 163 batters through 128 innings.

Region 7

Discovery Canyon Thunder

Game data: No. 7 Erie (16-7) vs. No. 26 Discovery Canyon (13-10) … At Erie High School. The winner of Game 1 will face either No. 10 Wheat Ridge or No. 23 Mullen for the Region 7 championship.

Scouting report: Despite not being the traditional Discovery Canyon powerhouse of the last few seasons, the Thunder enter the Region 7 tournament ready to prove they can compete. Discovery Canyon is coming off a tough eight-inning loss to Pueblo West, capping off a 2-4 run to end the regular season after falling to Vista Ridge for the league championship.

But a 16-12 win over Pine Creek, the 5A CSML champion, was one of the Thunder’s better wins of the season.

They’ll need to be at their best Saturday in the first round, taking on Erie, one of the top programs in the state on the Tigers’ home turf.

Discovery Canyon averages 10.4 runs per, while Erie averages 8.4. Sami Edwards leads the Thunder as one of the top hitters in Class 4A. Edwards has 38 RBIs and seven home runs, while Cora Ferguson has knocked in 39 runs and is batting .467.

Abby Boothe is Discovery Canyon’s go-to girl in the circle with a 10-4 record and a 7.44 ERA.

Erie enters the regional tournament on a two-game losing streak and is led by Jen Williams who has 28 RBIs on the year. As a team the Tigers have a combined 26 home runs, led by Madysun Vaughan and Kat Sackett with seven each. Maddie Leach is their top pitcher with a 2.91 ERA and a 14-3 record through 18 appearances.

CLASS 3A

Highest seed receives a first-round bye. Losers of Games 1 and 2 will play for a state-qualifying spot at 2:30.

Region 4

St. Mary’s Pirates

Game data: No. 13 St. Mary’s Pirates (17-6) vs. No. 20 Burlington (9-14) … At Greeley Youth Complex. The winner will play No. 4 University for the region championship.

Scouting report: Last year was St. Mary’s first state appearance in 11 years, and it hopes to stretch it to two consecutive berths this weekend. Despite ending the regular season on a loss, the Pirates proved they won’t be an easy team to take down with a 14-game winning streak in the middle of the season. And in six losses, they have never been shut out.

They’re led by Peyton Richter who is the top pitcher in Class 3A with 100 or more innings pitched with a 2.41 ERA. She is 15-4 with two shutouts and a no-hitter, and has struck out 172 batters through 107.1 innings. Richter also leads the team with 34 RBIs, followed by Morgan Trechter with 30. Mackenzie Pepper is the Pirates’ most consistent hitter batting .579 with 20 RBIs.

Burlington averages just 6.9 runs, compared to St. Mary’s 10. The Cougars have four batters with 12 or more RBIs this season, led by Kayla Robles who is batting .446 with 16 RBIs. Robles also has 20 appearances in the circle and has struck out 76 batters through 85.1 innings.

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