It was new, involved change and patience, and was difficult. There were growing pains, losing streaks and tough times in multiple areas. But it was necessary, they’re the better for it and the future now is the thing.
And it’s over.
Mullen’s Mustangs completed their 2018 softball season on Saturday, going 1-2 in a Class 4A regional at Erie. They ended 9-16, but first-year coach Alan Colglazier knew a lot of this was coming and was happy his team was able to work through it.
“There are a lot of positives,” he said.
Indeed, the Mustangs beat multiple teams that will be in the 5A state tournament this week at the Aurora Sports Complex. They beat the defending 5A Oklahoma champion. That had stretches of turning into a good-hitting club, particularly late. They successfully made position switches that made them better defensively. They will lose only one senior. And the lower-level team was 21-0.
“For our first year, we’re right on track,” Colglazier said. “Were laying the foundation for a different type of softball at Mullen and trying to build on it.”
The Mustangs had been on a nine-game losing streak before winning their final four games of the regular season. Upbeat when entering the postseason, they led Wheat Ridge 9-3 going into the bottom of the seventh on Saturday.
However, Mullen was guilty of five errors in the inning as the Farmers suddenly scored seven times to win 10-9 in a wild turn-around.
And while they eliminated Discovery Canyon 13-3 in 6 innings in the next round, the Mustangs basically weren’t there in the play-in game, getting bombed 11-0 by the Farmers. It was another difficult game for Mullen fielders.
“It was our Achilles’ heel all year,” Colglazier said. “You just can’t give teams extra outs.”
Really, he said, the Mustangs need to do a better job of backing up pitcher Marissa Sanchez, a junior.
“I felt bad for her,” Colglazier said. “We struggle with our lack of defense and it makes it difficult.”
At the plate, Maggie Bertsch, Bella Sevier, Bella Hawkins, Sanchez, Madelyn Bertsch, Emma DiGiacomo and Tiffanie Brieno did most of the damage, including on Saturday.
“We’re on the right track,” Colglazier said. “We just need to keep working harder and try to make next season a little better.
“We’re not that far away.”