AURORA — Hailey Maestretti couldn’t have asked for a better day.

After throwing a jaw-dropping 17 strikeouts during a sparkling championship performance in the circle, the Lutheran junior pitcher helped her Lions secure their first Class 4A state softball title — and second straight championship after moving up from 3A — with a 3-0 win over Holy Family at Aurora Sports Park on Saturday.

Before that, she pitched the first three games of the Lions’ playoff run on Friday and Saturday morning. The Tigers, a strong pitching team themselves, couldn’t keep up with the heat she was throwing, especially not her screwball and her changeup.

She began her run to the record books when she was just 7 years old.

“Just a wild kid that threw hard in the basement and we found a pitching coach down in Castle Rock that really put her in the right direction to where she’s at today,” her dad and head coach Glen Maestretti said. “That kid works her tail off to to perform.”

(Alissa Noe)

The Lions got on the board early with an RBI single from sophomore second baseman Aleksia Severson in the bottom of the second and, for the next hour and a half, it looked like that run would be all Lutheran needed to seal the deal.
A couple of cushion runs don’t hurt, though.

After a series of zeros, the Lions added to the scoreboard again when it mattered most. Senior left fielder Faith Byler knocked in a couple more runs with a base hit in the top of the sixth before ending the ending with a throwout at second.

Hailey poetically ended Holy Family’s run with three strikeouts in the top of the seventh.

“I was just pitching with confidence that my team was right behind me the whole time. They had my back no matter what. It feels awesome,” she said. “It was an honor to be able to play with these girls and we’re finally saying goodbye to our seniors. It was an honor to start the season with them and end as winners.”

The Lions ended their season with just one blemish through their 28-1 slate, and Glen expects that trend to continue into 2023.

“I intentionally loaded this schedule this year to play the top 4A teams, the top 5A teams, just to get us prepared for this scenario here. And we needed every bit of it, playing a team like that,” he said. “They’re talented, they’re young, so I expect them to be back here again next year. And, of course, I expect us to be here as well.”