The whole ‘take it slow, season’s a marathon’ chatter at other levels of this game, where it’s all box scores under the afternoon sun and sunflower shells for miles, doesn’t as accurately apply for the high school softball slate.

The 58-day fall softball regular season in Colorado is underway as of late last week, meaning for school programs across the state there is little time to spare in building a postseason resumé.

Each week, Colorado Preps will take a look at some of the biggest games from each classification while also taking a peek at some key matchups ahead.

Highlights from Week 1 are below.

Class 4A

Lutheran’s move up in classifications is off to a very agreeable start thanks to three quality wins over its first week in 4A, where the Lions now top the latest CHSAA coaches poll.

Saturday, the reigning 3A state champions opened with wins over 5A Valor Christian, then 4A No. 2 Holy Family, the program that has dominated the division with three titles over four years.

They followed with a five-inning, mercy-rule victory over Northfield Wednesday.

Extending their winning streak to 32 games dating back to October of 2020, reigning 3A player of the year Hailey Maestretti threw 18 of her team’s 19 innings and currently sports a 3-0 record and a 1.17 ERA.

Against Valor Christian and Holy Family, Maestretti had double-digit strikeouts, allowing a combined three earned runs. Through three games she also leads her team with five runs driven in, while sophomore teammate Mackenzie Glenn has seven hits over her first 12 plate appearances.

Elsewhere, George Washington’s Ana Federico has seven RBIs in eight plate appearances, Lewis-Palmer’s Landry Boone has two home runs in three games.

On the mound, Sand Creek’s Keira Gray got every out in her opener against Coronado by way of strikeout, totaling 21 over seven innings. Green Mountain’s Erin Ransom has 19 strikeouts in nine innings pitched.

Among upcoming games of interest, Holy Family, which lost its first two games of the season for the first time in more than a decade, has three top-10 matchups over the next week. The Tigers are on the road against No. 8 Elizabeth Thursday (Aug. 18), No. 6 Pueblo South Saturday and No. 3 Mead Tuesday.

Class 5A

Legend’s Cameron Ponich, the ace pitcher who helped lead the Titans to their third title in five years a season ago, was solid in her 2022 debut Saturday.

Ponich allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings, Lexi Craig homered and No. 1 Legend beat No. 7 Chatfield 13-2 in a six-inning affair.

Ponich was an all-state, first teamer as a junior when she went 15-4 with a 1.45 ERA, and she needed little time working back into that form this fall. She scattered four hits and punched out five in the win.

Craig, who after hitting .308 with four bombs as a sophomore went deep in her first at-bat.

Elsewhere across the first week, Ralston Valley and No. 9 Mountain Vista combined for 49 runs in their opener Saturday, with the Mustangs winning 25-24. Riley Kline had four hits and drove in five for Ralston Valley. Audrey Reimers had four hits and four RBIs for the Golden Eagles.

Among upcoming games to monitor, No. 5 Fossil Ridge, which beat Smoky Hill in its home opener, are scheduled to face both of last year’s 5A finals teams in its next two games, with runner-up Columbine Thursday (Aug. 18) and Legend Saturday.

Class 3A

Eaton’s Stephanie Bingley didn’t go yard in her 100 plate appearances last fall.

The junior needed just four at-bats this year for that long-awaited celebratory jog.

Bingley broke open a tight opener against Fort Lupton with a three-run shot in the sixth inning as her four RBIs on the day were the difference in the 3A No. 1 Reds’ 8-4 victory.

Teammate Julia Meagher added three hits and drove in two. She allowed four runs over seven innings on the mound.

Elsewhere, No. 5 Strasburg held off seventh-ranked Limon 8-7 in its first game. Graecyn Graf drove in three and pitcher Heidi Price shut the door just in time in the seventh. Limon scored three runs in the last frame before Price induced a groundout and got a punchout, leaving two stranded.

This weekend, the Indians will be among the classification’s top teams at the Eaton Softball Extravaganza tournament. Among interesting games to watch Friday, Eaton and Strasburg face No. 3 Lamar, which is coming off a 20-0 win over Wray/Yuma. No. 2 University faces No. 10 Rocky Ford.