Conifer softball uses late-inning heroics to defeat Lakewood

Dennis Pleuss
Jeffco Public Schools
Posted 8/23/21

LAKEWOOD — There was nothing wrong with hitting hard ground balls with a gusty win blowing in from centerfield Aug. 17 at Ray Baker Field on the Lakewood High School campus. Conifer senior Katy …

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Conifer softball uses late-inning heroics to defeat Lakewood

Posted

LAKEWOOD — There was nothing wrong with hitting hard ground balls with a gusty win blowing in from centerfield Aug. 17 at Ray Baker Field on the Lakewood High School campus.

Conifer senior Katy Sims did just that, rifling a single through the Tigers’ infield to lead off the top of the seventh inning with the non-league softball game tied 2-2.

“I just made the adjustment and wanted to make hard contact with the ball,” Sims said of her key leadoff single to start the seventh inning after going 0-for-3 with three ground-outs. “My first three at-bats, I just hit it right at somebody.”

Sims would advance to third base after a pair of passed balls. With one out, freshman Molly Mortier hit a ground ball to shortstop that would knock in the eventual game-winning run.

“Our freshman, Molly, really came through for us,” Conifer senior pitcher Cheyenne Prieto said. “She is also great at first base too. She is a great addition to our team.”

Sims broke to home plate when Mortier made contact and beat the throw to the plate to score what would be the game-winning run in a 3-2 victory for the Lobos — ranked No. 10 in the latest CHSAANow.com Class 4A softball rankings.

“It’s huge. We have a really solid team this year,” Prieto, who had nine strikeouts in the victory. “Beating a team like Lakewood is a really huge deal. They are always a good team. It’s always great to play them.”

Lakewood — No. 8 in the 5A rankings — defeated Conifer 1-0 in the 5A Jeffco versus 4A Jeffco non-league match-up. The Lobos (3-0 record) turned the tables on the Tigers (0-1) this year in the pitching dual between Prieto and Lakewood senior Reagan Medina.

Conifer used a pair of walks in the opening inning to take a 2-0 lead. Lakewood responded in the bottom of the third inning to tie things up 2-2 after an error helped plate a couple of runs for the Tigers.

“I felt pretty good. It wasn’t my best day,” Prieto admitted after walking four batters in the first three innings before settling in. “I still had enough pitches where my defense could follow through and we could get the win.”

With Lakewood normal pitching ace Destiny Martinez playing shortstop for the Tigers, Medina got the start on the hill and was able to settle down after allowing two early runs. She finished with seven strikeouts after walking six batters through the first three innings.

“I’ve know Dannielle (Gunn) for a long time. She has really made this Lakewood program steady,” Conifer coach Carrie Oletski said of Lakewood coach Dannielle Gunn. “You know you are going to get a good game.”

Conifer and Lakewood were both state playoff teams during the COVID-19 reduced season last Fall. The Lobos had their season end with a loss to rival Wheat Ridge in the 4A state quarterfinals.

A conference title is definitely a goal this year for Conifer who finished behind Wheat Ridge and D’Evelyn last season in the tough 4A Jeffco League.

“This game tells us where we are at,” Oletski said. “This was a goal of their’s to go after this win. Now we go from here and make our statement.”

Lakewood lost to Jeffco rival Chatfield in the 5A state quarterfinals last season.

Dennis Pleuss is the Sports Information Director for Jeffco Public Schools. For more Jeffco coverage, go to CHSAANow.com.

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