AURORA — A year earlier, Chatfield’s season, which included a 5A Jeffco League title, ended a week earlier than it thought it might at regionals. And though the Lady Chargers won the same number of games in 2012 as it did in 2011, but didn’t repeat as conference champions they arguably had a better season. A berth in the 5A state tournament, for all intents and purposes, proved that.
And though Chatfield left Aurora Sports Park with a 4-2 defeat to Rock Canyon in the state quarterfinals on Oct. 19, the Lady Chargers proved that they belonged.
“We definitely worked the hardest we’ve ever had since I’ve been at Chatfield,” said senior starting pitcher Rebecka Mintz, who in the opening round threw a complete-game three-hitter. She retired the first 14 batters before allowing a two-out single in the fifth in third-seeded Chatfield’s 6-1 victory over Standley Lake. “This is the best team we’ve had. It’s the farthest we’ve eve gone. We worked as hard as we can to get here.”
And they nearly worked hard enough to make their stay at state a day longer than it was. But Rock Canyon’s first three runs scored on a Brooklyn Travis two-out single in the second inning and Lauren Paige’s two-run double in the fourth built a lead Chatfield couldn’t overcome. Then the Lady Jaguars added an unearned insurance run in the sixth.
“Rock Canyon came up big when they had to,” said Carlie Sexton, who had two of Chatfield’s six hits but grounded out with runners on first and second to end the game. “We had some opportunities we just didn’t come up with. Hats off to them.”
While Chatfield trailed 3-0 and stranded the bases loaded in the fifth inning, the Lady Chargers (16-6-1) showed their no-quit attitude when freshman Jessica Jarecki smacked a two-run homer in the sixth to pull them within 3-2 and then again in the seventh when it brought the winning run in Sexton to the plate. But miscues — both physical and mental — were too much to overcome.
“We talked about it as a team. Any time you commit any errors or the team that makes the most amount of errors in the game usually is the team that loses,” Chatfield head coach Nicole Janssen said. “We had two, if not three, errors and that really hurt us. But you look back even in the last inning with Carlie up to bat and anything can happen. It can go one way or the other. You hope and pray something is going to happen, but if not these girls put up a good fight out there.”
Even in falling short of the ultimate goal, Chatfield felt a sense of accomplishment. The Lady Chargers won a regional title and reached the Elite Eight in its first trip to state since 2009.
“This team did a lot this year. They were a team,” Janssen said. “The seniors left a legacy behind for these younger classmen. We had a great freshman class, plus the kids who played led them in the right direction to get them to this point and understand what it’s like to get here and experience it.”