Delta High School's 2018 softball team made history this season. The Panthers were the 3A District 5 champions with a league record of 11-0 and finished 19-2 for the season. For the first time in the history of Delta softball, the Panthers were among the state's top RPI teams after finishing second in the polls with a 0.623 and posting the state's top 3A record of 19-2. Delta was rated first a week ago but was overtaken by Eaton's Reds in the final poll. Eaton finished with a 0.624 and was 18-5 on the season.
University, a team Delta lost to early in the season, finished fourth in the RPI poll with Lamar, Delta's only other loss, coming in at the number seven spot with a 0.577 and a season record of 16-7.
Meeker finished ninth followed by Cortez in 14th place, Basalt at number 15 and Cedaredge 20th.
Another first for the Panthers is their first-ever hosting of a regional playoff site, which will be announced sometime this week.
"The team has worked hard to get to this point," stated Delta head softball coach Jerry Sandoval. "Our defense has played well and we've put the ball in play to score runs."
Delta finished its regular season this past week with a hard-earned 3-0 victory over close rival Cedaredge. The game was a defensive battle for much of the way with Delta notching a single run in the second inning for the game's only run until the fifth frame. A two-run bottom of the fifth started with small-ball to get runners to second base for scoring opportunities. The two runs proved to be enough to post the conference win and close out an undefeated league schedule for Delta.
Sophomore Hailee Ruble and senior Reagan Clay collected two hits apiece for the Panthers. Ruble had a pair of doubles and Clay another two-bagger to generate an RBI each in the win.
Senior Jenna Sutliff and sophomore Keely Porter also had doubles for the Panthers with Sutliff driving in one of Delta's three runs.
The Panthers had seven hits in the game with no errors.
Ruble picked up her league-leading 13th win on seven innings of work while allowing just two hits and striking out 12 Bruin batters. Ruble is ranked second in Class 3A among pitchers.
The Bruins' defense was able to stymie Delta's offense for most of the afternoon with Bruins' pitcher Summer Young picking up six strikeouts along the way.
Cedaredge coach Terry Montoya, in his first year at the helm of the Bruins' softball program, was proud of the way his team battled. Though his team did not finish in the top three of league play, Montoya believes the Bruins will be able to make the playoffs. Cedaredge finished 21st in RPI standings and will know its playoff destiny after an early week league meeting and state pairing committee has finished its tournament bracketing.
3A Regional Softball
A release of 2018 Class 3A regional softball pairings features five WSL teams.
As anticipated, though not the top seed, Delta's Panthers came into regional play as the number three team with their 19-2 record (the best in Class 3A). The Panthers have a bye to the title game to be played at 12:15 p.m on Oct. 13. A preliminary game between No. 14 Montezuma-Cortez (12-8) and No. 19 Peak to Peak (13-10) will be played at 10 a.m., as will all first round games on the 13th.
Other 3A WSL teams playing on the 13th include No. 15 Basalt (9-9) versus No. 18 La Junta (9-14) in Region 2 where Eaton (18-5) is the host team.
Faith Christian (18-5) will host Region 5 where No. 12 Fort Lupton (14-8) takes on No. 21 Cedaredge (9-13) and in Region 8, Limon (15-8) is the host school where No. 9 Meeker (13-9) and No. 24 Sheridan (9-13) battle to see who will face Limon for a state playoff berth at 12:15 p.m.