Even though Delta's Panthers had an up and down softball season they believed in themselves and proved that belief by securing a berth in this week's 3A state softball tournament in Aurora.
Delta played last Saturday in Region 4 (in Lamar) as the 13 seed, defeated 20th seed Lyons 10-4 in first round play last. That win propelled the Panthers into the regional championship game against number four Lamar Saturday afternoon where they lost 18-9. Both Lamar, 15-5, and Delta earned berths in this week's state tournament.
Delta, playing in the first game of the day, took a 2-1 lead over Lyons in the first inning. A single run in the top of the second inning tied the game with neither team scoring a run in the third inning.
Lyons failed to score in the fourth with Delta picking up a pair of runs to take a 4-2 lead.
The Lions tied the game at 4-4 with two runs in the top of the fifth but Delta regained a slim advantage with a run in its half of the inning.
Delta put the game away with a five-run sixth and then held on for a 10-4 win.
Junior Jenna Sutliff upped her home run totals to nine for the season and added a triple for a three-RBI day against the Lions.
Freshman Sami Lane had two RBIs, with a double, in her two-hit game.
Ashley Lahoe had a double and two RBIs and Alyssa Trujillo had a double and an RBI for the winners.
Hailee Ruble was in the circle for the Panthers and picked up her ninth win of the season after working seven innings giving up three hits and four runs. She struck out Lyons' batters in the game.
In the Region 4 final, Lamar had a ton of firepower and showed it off by scoring 10 runs in the first inning.
Delta came back with two runs in the second inning only to see the Savages score two more of their own to lead 12-2.
Delta kept its offense going in the third inning and produced four runs while the Panther defense limited Lamar to just one run in the bottom of the inning.
The next two innings were scoreless keeping Lamar's lead at 13-6.
Final scoring came in the sixth inning with Delta tacking on three runs and Lamar closing out the game with a five-run bottom half of the inning for an 18-9 win.
Ruble had a hot bat to go three-for-four at the plate with a double and a triple and three RBIs.
Breanna Sprout and Keely Porter recorded two RBIs on one hit each with Sutliff picking up an RBI on one hit and Lahoe finished two-for-four in the title game.
3A State Pairings
The 3A state softball pairings were released Monday morning.
With Cedaredge, Basalt and Cortez eliminated from the tournament, only Meeker and Delta remain alive.
Meeker (#9) rolled past number eight University and number 24 Sheridan in Region 8 play to advance to the 2017 CHSAA State Softball Championships scheduled for this weekend (Oct. 20-21) in Aurora.
Delta, the number 13 seed, used a 10-hit attack spearheaded by Jenna Sutliff's eighth home run to score a 10-4 win over number 20 Lyons.
The Panthers fell to Region 4 top seed Lamar 18-9 in the title game to earn a berth in the state tournament with a second-place finish.
Meeker enters the tournament as a number seven seed with an 18-3 record and will play number 10 Rocky Ford (13-8) at 12:15 p.m. A Cowboy win will pit either number two Eaton (17-3) or number 15 Valley (8-13) against them in quarterfinal action later on Saturday. That winner is in the semifinals on Saturday, Oct.21.
Delta enters state tournament play as the number 14 seed and will take on number three Strasburg (16-4) at Aurora Sports Park (19300 E Colfax Avenue, Aurora) at 12:15 p.m. A win over Strasburg slides the Panthers into quarterfinal action against either number six La Junta (13-7) or number 11 St. Mary's (15-6) later in the day on Saturday. Win both and the semifinals is the next step to a state title shot on Saturday in Aurora.