THORNTON — Head softball coach Robin Ortiz stood on the third-base line, soaking in what had just happened. Columbine had seemingly just ran itself out of the fourth inning with two runners on and one out when a Madison Reuter liner dropped in front of Horizon shortstop Lindsay Pritchard.
The host Lady Hawks thought they had recorded a double play, only for a 10-minute conference with game umpires determining that only one out had occurred. Columbine’s second chance, much like the rest of the game, didn’t change the ultimate outcome, a 5-1 Horizon victory on Aug. 29.
Columbine (2-2), which had scored 33 runs in its first three games, saw its modest two-game winning streak thwarted by Horizon pitcher Taylor Smith. The Lady Hawks right-hander scattered seven hits and didn’t allow Columbine to score until there were two outs in the seventh inning.
“I just don’t think our approach early in the game was good. We didn’t have a quaility at-bat early. I’m not sure we were seeing the ball well, to be honest,” Ortiz said. “We’ve been preaching and practicing quality at-bats with purpose and we didnt really do that today. We had a little bit of urgency there toward the end, but when you’re down five it’s tough to overcome that.”
Pinch hitter Sam Burgess scored Columbine’s lone run after she singled to open the seventh and scored three batters later. The Lady Rebels stranded eight runners in the first six innings and 10 for the game.
“We didn’t have a really good aura together. We just didn’t fit really well together today,” said right fielder Tedi Gomez, who had three hits and an RBI.
Horizon scored two runs in the first and two more in the third, both times benefitting from a Columbine fielding error. Sierra Watts scored two of those runs and three players — Makenzy Mitts, Jasmine Wessel and Kayla Hepp — had two hits each for Horizon (2-0).
“We know we’re going to make mistakes. We’re pretty young. We’re starting five underclassmen. Today, we were starting six underclassmen,” Ortiz said. “We’re pretty experienced from the varsity competition, so that shouldn’t be an excuse. It’s just a matter of knowing that we’re going to make a mistake and staying positive to overcome those things.”