Lady Meloneers win league title
The La Junta High School softball team held a slim lead for much of the game when it hosted third-ranked Rocky Ford Saturday at Tippy Martinez Park.
However, the Lady Meloneers struck for four runs in the top of the sixth and held on to defeat the Lady Tigers 4-2.
The win gave Rocky the Tri-Peaks League championship.
"We had to push in more runs," said LJ coach Roger Davis. "Maddie (Wiley) did a good job pitching. They just had that one inning where they got to us. We have to eliminate that. We had our opportunities. We just didn't hit the ball when we had runners on base."
"We started off with four errors in the first three innings," said Rocky coach J.C. Carrica. "It's really disappointing because I like to pride my team's reputation on defense and we really struggled. But like I told them, they play with a lot of heart and I think that's what kept them in the game and gave them a chance late."
The Lady Tigers took the early lead with two runs in the top of the first inning. Alizeh Frazier led off with a triple and she scored on Azalea Gamez's sacrifice bunt. Gamez was safe at first on the play and she advanced to second. Hunter Wallace, who was courtesy-running for Gamez, took third as Lexi Nunez-Rebel also reached on an error. Wallace scored on Jaden Smith's ground ball.
La Junta was able to hang on to the lead through the first five innings. Rocky Ford was limited to five base runners in that time, while La Junta had three runners from the second to the fifth.
The Lady Meloneers sixth started with a single by Baylie Krueger and she scored on Abby McElroy's triple. Niquole Knapp was safe on an error and she stole second to give Rocky two runners in scoring position.
Lexi Fernandez doubled home both Yzabella Chavez, who was courtesy-running for McElroy, and Knapp to put the Lady Meloneers into the lead. Leila Chavez singled to score Faith Potter, who was pinch-running for Fernandez, to give Rocky a 4-2 lead.
La Junta attempted a rally in the bottom of the seventh as Jaylin Springer was hit by a pitch and Chantel Martinez had a infield single. However, both runners were left stranded as the game ended.
Wiley was the losing pitcher and she allowed four runs and seven hits. She struck out four and walked one.
McElroy took the win as she gave up two runs and two hits. She had five strikeouts, one walk and she hit a batter.
Frazier's triple and Martinez's single were La Junta's only two hits.
Rocky Ford was led offensive by Leila Chavez, who went 2-3 with one RBI, and Krueger, who went 2-4 including a double. Fernandez led in RBIs with two.
LA JUNTA DEFEATED DISCOVERY CANYON ON THURSDAY
La Junta went into Saturday's game with some momentum after a 12-2 win over Discovery Canyon Thursday in Colorado Springs.
The Lady Tigers scored a run in each of the first two innings and they then scored three in the third. La Junta added a run in the fourth and four in the fifth to take a 10-0 lead.
The Lady Thunder scored once in the bottom of the fifth, but the Lady Tigers responded with two in the sixth. Discovery Canyon scored another run in its half of the inning, but the game ended after six innings on the 10-run rule.
Wiley was the winning pitcher and she allowed two runs and five hits. She recorded five strikeouts and no walks.
The Lady Tigers scattered 15 hits and they were led by Frazier, who went 3-3 with two RBIs, Emily Noll, who went 4-5 with one RBI and Breyona Lucero-Molina, who went 3-4 with one RBI.
STATE IS NEXT
Both teams are expected to be in the Class 3A state tournament bracket which was announced on Sunday evening.
"We'll travel at this point," Davis said. "It depends on how they line it out. They're taking those three polls (CHSAA, MaxPreps and RPI) together this year. This depends where they send us. It will be somewhere in that 9-11 seed range."
"We should host on Tuesday," Carrica said. "The selection is Sunday night at 6 p.m., so we should start seeing stuff going out Sunday at about 7 p.m.
La Junta finished the regular season with an overall record of 11 wins and five losses and they were 6-1 in league play. Rocky Ford was 15-1 overall and 7-0 in league.
ROCKY FORD 4, LA JUNTA 2
Rocky Ford 000 004 0 — 4 7 4
La Junta 200 000 0 — 2 2 2
McElroy (W) and Jaramillo. Wiley (L) and Gamez.
LA JUNTA 12, DISCOVERY CANYON 2
La Junta 113 142 — 12 15 2
Discovery Canyon 000 011 — 2 5 3
Wiley (W) and Gamez. Webber (L), Debise (2), Meeks (5) and Murphy.
Tribune-Democrat reporter Ken Hamrick can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Help support local journalism by subscribing to the La Junta Tribune-Democrat at lajuntatribunedemocrat.com/subscribenow.