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Cougars best rival, prepare for playoffs

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By Dan Johnson

Becca Motte has experienced both sides of the Evergreen-Conifer rivalry.

She played for the Lobos as a freshman and sophomore before transferring over to Evergreen prior to her junior year.

Last year, the Lobos defeated Motte and the Cougars. When the two teams met again on Sept. 30, Motte was bound and determined not to let that happen again.

The senior shortstop slugged a two-run home run and also laced a two-run single as Evergreen jumped on the young Lobos early, on the way to recording a 10-4 Class 4A Jefferson County League win.

“Definitely a lot of motivation coming into this game,” Motte said. “They got us last year, so seeing them on our home field, we wanted to get them back.”

By virtue of its third-place finish in Jeffco, Evergreen (8-2 Jeffco, 11-7 overall) earned the number 15 seed in the 32-team Class 4A regional playoff bracket. The Cougars play No. 18 Frederick (13-6) in the opening round in Region 8, with the winner advancing to play either No. 2 Northridge (16-3) or No. 31 Fort Lupton (11-8).

Unlike past years, where all brackets were single-elimination, this year will be played under a double-elimination format. Two teams from each bracket will move on to state. Region 8 games will be played at Centennial Ballfields in Loveland, and begin at 10 a.m.

Against Conifer, hitting in the clutch proved to be the difference. Both teams finished with eight hits. The difference? Evergreen made sure its hits counted.

After falling behind 2-0 in the third inning, the Cougars erupted for five runs in the bottom half of the inning to take control of the game.

Anne Martin’s double drove in Katie Cavanaugh (who led off the inning with a double of her own), then several batters later, Motte stepped up and hit a two-run homer over the center field fence (yes, they finally have a fence in the outfield) and Emmy Quinn later singled in the final run of the frame.

The Lobos cut the deficit to 5-3 on an RBI slap single by Megan Bronson, but were denied a chance to get within a run as Mackenzie Miller was thrown out at home by Evergreen centerfielder, Paige Remington.

“Paige has been making throws like that all year,” Evergreen coach Scott Haebe said. “That really was a pivotal moment in the game.”

After the exciting play at home, Evergreen scored a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning, then added three more runs over the next two to put the game out of reach.

Quinn picked up the win, pitching four innings. She struck out two and allowed three runs on six hits. Cavanaugh pitched the final three innings, striking out four while allowing just two hits.

After a tough 1-0 loss to Jeffco League champion (and regional No. 1 seed) Wheat Ridge on Sept. 25, the Cougars feel confident heading into the postseason.

“Every game from that point on, we’ve said that we need to play like we did in the Wheat Ridge game,” Motte said. “We’re ready for it.”