So much for the expected …
What an eye-opening first day of Class 4A state softball it was on Friday, as the sounds at the Aurora Sports Park were decidedly louder and underdog-fueled.
In fact, seven of the top 10 seeds were knocked off, but one wasn’t Mullen. In fact, the Mustangs had a hand in knocking off one of them -- No. 7 Frederick in a back-and-forth, 8-6 decision in the preliminaries. The Mustangs followed with an 11-1 whipping of No. 15 Elizabeth that earlier dropped second-seeded Golden.
Pardon Mustangs head coach Greg Hogan for being excited.
“We just put it together,” Hogan said. “We hit the ball hard, had a lot of base hits. We would get singles, then knock them in.”
In particular, Hogan said, senior Jessica Hafey carried a lot of the load. In the first game, in which Mullen built a 5-0 lead, had Frederick tie it at 5 and take a 6-5 lead, she was 4-for-4 with a first-inning home run. Plus, Mustangs No. 9 hitter Bella Hawkins smacked a two-out, two-run triple in the top of the sixth inning for the winning hit.
Plus, Natalie Archuleta added an RBI single as part of a 13-hit attack.
Sophomore pitcher Marissa Sanchez settled down and retired six of the final eight Warriors she faced to seal it.
In the second game, Hafey added two more doubles as Mullen’s onslaught continued.
“We just put it together,” Hogan said. “We just had a good day hitting the ball.”
In addition to Hafey and Hawkins, Archuleta, Caley McKune, Emma DiGiacomo, Tatum Maloney, Tiffanie Brieno and Elena Garcia each contributed.
The Mustangs, now 16-8, will take on Mountain View (20-3-1) in one semifinal and it will be Silver Creek (18-4-1), which also downed three-time defending state champion Valor Christian, vs. Pueblo Central (19-4) in the other. First pitches will be at 10 a.m. The title game will be at 1:30 p.m.
Here’s where playing in the demanding Centennial League has its competitive advantages, Hogan said.
“Mountain View’s good, Silver Creek is on a hot streak and Pueblo Central is doing very well,” Hogan said. “This really is up in the air.”
CLASS 4A RESULTS
Valor Christian 7, Ponderosa 0
Silver Creek 16, Conifer 6
Erie 17, Pueblo County 14
Pueblo Central 7, Air Academy 3
Discovery Canyon 11, Wheat Ridge 0
Mountain View 5, Thomas Jefferson 0
Elizabeth 13, Golden 6
MULLEN 8, Frederick 6
Silver Creek 5, Valor Christian 1
Pueblo Central 9, Erie 5
Mountain View 4, Discovery Canyon 3
MULLEN 11, Elizabeth 1