AURORA – After leading Columbine for most of the game, Fruita Monument found itself in a one-run hole going into the seventh inning.

The Rebels entered the Class 5A state softball tournament as the defending state champion and the on-paper favorite as the No. 1 seed. So taking the lead late in the game should’ve all but silenced the doubters up that point.

But Lacie Rodabaugh had other ideas. He blasted a two-run home run that sparked a six-run seventh inning to lead the Wildcats to an 11-6 win over Columbine. And now Fruita lives to fight another day.

“We’re really good about having each other’s backs,” Rodabaugh said. “That really helps keep the tempo up. We’ve had a good go against them before, the first time was 3-2. I know we’re good enough to compete with the best and we don’t let anything get to us.”

The Wildcats advance to the semifinals where they’ll take on No. 4 Erie. After taking down the No. 1 seed on the bracket, they’re hoping the momentum can carry over into Saturday. If they can beat the Tigers, they’ll play for a state title for the first time since winning the program’s only crown back in 1989.

“We’re all really hyped because last year we were out in the first round,” Rodabaugh said. “We’ve worked really hard to do this and we want to do it for our seniors.”

The winner of Fruita and Erie will take on the winner of Chatfield and Fossil in the state title game at Aurora Sports Park.

Eaton steamrolls into fifth straight semifinals

(Dan Mohrmann/

Sadie Ross doesn’t need much of a lead to hold down the pitching circle for Eaton softball. So when the Reds give her a 10-run cushion in the first two innings of a quarterfinal game in the 3A state tournament, a win is as close to a forgone conclusion as anyone in that position can get.

Eaton jumped out to a fast lead over Sterling in the quarterfinals and cruised to a 17-1 win behind Ross’ strong pitching performance.

This is the fifth straight appearance in the semifinals for Eaton as they try to win a second straight state title. They entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed 3A and look very much the part after beating Meeker 13-2 to open the tournament and following that up with the win over the Tigers.

Eaton will face The Academy in the semifinals and the winner will play the winner of Strasburg and Thomas Jefferson.

Frederick stuns D’Evelyn

After Peyton Marvel hit a walk-off home run to get D’Evelyn into the 4A quarterfinals, the Jags’ luck ran out. Frederick put up nine runs in the second inning to advance to the semifinals.

The Warriors will face No. Riverdale Ridge with the winner taking on the winner of Holy Family and Lutheran in the state title game.