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BRIGHTON –There was little the Lady ThunderHawks could do against the incredible pitching of Paxton Duran Thursday. With only seven earned runs scored against her this season, PVHS was just …
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BRIGHTON –There was little the Lady ThunderHawks could do against the incredible pitching of Paxton Duran Thursday. With only seven earned runs scored against her this season, PVHS was just another victim in Brighton’s 13-4 season run as Duran pitched another shutout. The final was 2-0.
Fortunate for the ThunderHawks, the Lady Bulldogs’ bats were as cold as the afternoon temperatures. BHS found the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth after a walk put a runner on base and a triple by Ashley Hunt pushed the run around the bases.
In the bottom of the fifth, Jenna Sandoval smacked a grounder through the shortstop and reached second. Justin Espinosa knocked the ball into center and Sandoval scored.
It came down to the top of the seventh inning for PVHS, but Duran retired three straight on strikes.
“It’s Colorado softball in October. It’s cool, it’s windy and it’s gonna be a defensive game,” Coach Tony Bruno said. With a strong season under their collective belts, Brighton played nearly clean ball, with only a few mistakes.
“Obviously, we have one of the top pitchers in the state. She’s dominated everyone she’s faced,” Bruno said of his star right-handed sophomore. In the previous week, BHS and Duran pushed Ralston Valley to 13 innings before there was a score tallied.
“She’s a marquee pitcher. But without Rachel (Mitchell) behind the plate, we couldn’t use her. No one else can catch her,” Bruno said.
With the league championship on the line this week with a game with Westminster Tuesday, after press time, and a non-league Cherokee Trail Thursday, Bruno sees his Lady Dawgs getting a good draw for the playoff brackets.
Coach Bruno was quick to point out that while the team is riding on Duran’s arm, there is a whole squad behind her ready. Joslynn Lopez, at third base, is one of the top league defensive players. “And Ashley (Hunt) had two big hits today and 1 RBI. It was a big day for her.”
PVHS Coach Brandin Becher was also happy with his battery Thursday.
“We knew we were going in for a dog fight,” Becher said of the cross-town rivalry game. “Some of the girls have had experience with (Duran) in the past, but we’ve been struggling with our hitting of late.
“So, I cranked up the machine to 62 – 63 mph last week to see what we could do against that speed,” Becher said. “We’ve been struggling hitting as of late. I cranked the machine up to 65mph and see what we could do. She throws a lot of strikes. We were prepared.”
Becher said his team stayed strong defensively. “We didn’t change much else.” He praised catcher Chelsey Bingham for taking charge of the game calling the plays and using the wind to the ThunderHawks advantage.
“Kasy Smith had some personal goals she wanted to attain,” he said of his pitcher. “She hadn’t recorded a strike out against Brighton and she found four Ks Thursday.”
PVHS faced Skyview Tuesday and has a rescheduled game against Aurora Central Oct. 7. Regional play begins Oct. 17.
“If we take care of Skyview we’ll get that second seed to the tournament.”
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