Note: For more photos from Barry Smith, click here.

With the Dave Sanders tournament quickly approaching, Columbine is playing some of the best softball in the state. The Rebels lead our weekly look the sport.


Class 5A

Columbine hasn’t lost a game since falling to Legend in last year’s state championship game.

Nine straight wins, a viable player of the year candidate in senior Araya Ogden, the Rebels are finally atop of the 5A classification — even if it’s just in this week’s CHSAA rankings.

Eyes are now on the ace pitcher who’ll be critical in keeping them there.

Ogden has allowed just four earned runs in her first 50 innings pitched this season. She also has a hit in each of her team’s nine games.

Last week, she threw a two-hitter to blank No. 8 Ponderosa 3-0. Then, with back-to-back wins over Grandview and Golden, she improved to 8-0 this season with a 0.56 ERA.

The Rebels continue play at the Dave Sanders Tournament at Aurora Sports Park Friday. On tap is Mountain Vista and Grand Junction Central.

Elsewhere, Erie (10-3) made another strong case to be included in the top 10, beating Legacy 12-3 Tuesday and Monarch 19-1 Thursday to push its win streak to nine games.

In that span, the Tigers have a run differential of 110 (116-6). Renee Laczkowski has outscored teams herself during the run with 17 of her season’s 18 RBIs, which included two home runs against the Lightning.

Ace Gracie Sackett, touting a 5-0 record and 0.53 ERA, has more strikeouts (53) than she’s allowed hits (24), walks (15) and runs (five) combined.

For games to monitor this next week: Defending champ Legend (10-2) faces Arvada West Friday. The Wildcats (8-5) are the first team out of the top 10.

The Titans go on to face No. 8 Ponderosa Monday and No. 4 Douglas County Wednesday. The Huskies (10-1) have won six straight and last beat the Mustangs 1-0 Wednesday behind a shutout from senior Marina Tinari.

Class 4A

At this point, Niwot second baseman Zoie Chociej is having more than just a nice start to the season.

Perfect from the plate through her first four games this fall, Chociej’s offense hasn’t dipped much over the past couple weeks, holding a batting average among the best in the country at .800.

As part of it, the senior has six games from the dish where she hasn’t hit into an out. In total, she has 20 hits in 25 at-bats, including five doubles and three home runs.

Her team is just 3-6 on the season, though.

Atop the class, meanwhile, is Lutheran. The reigning 3A champs are 10-0 and haven’t lost a game since the 2020 season.

Over the past week, the Lions beat Arvada West, Pueblo South as well as Palmer Ridge in a league game inside the 4A Pikes Peak.

Ace Hailey Maestretti holds an ERA of 0.37 in 56 1/3 innings pitched, pushing the program’s win streak to 39 games through Thursday.

The Lions will go for 40 in a row at home against Wheat Ridge Friday.

The biggest jump in the rankings belonged to Air Academy, which went from outside the top 10 to fifth this week. The Kadets (8-2) won four straight before falling to Discovery Canyon 11-5 on Wednesday.

For games to monitor this next week: No. 3 Windsor is on the road at Mead Tuesday and Lutheran Sept. 15. The Wizards are 7-2 on the season, sporting a three-armed pitching staff of Kinza Sagel, Kiley Grubbs and Jaklynn Harteker. They beat defending champ Holy Family last week behind three RBIs from Katie Perkins.

Class 3A

Resurrection Christian climbed into the CHSAA top 10 this past week thanks to its 6-0 start and a run differential of 103 (111-8).

The freshmen duo of Olivia Martinez and Ava Acosta have led the offense with 26 runs driven in and three home runs. Martinez has 14 RBIs and Acosta is hitting .733.

Senior Alexis Knapp has been sensational on the mound, allowing one earned run in 22 innings while striking out 50. She hasn’t allowed an earned run in her last 18 innings.

With them, the team’s last four wins have looked like this: 17-1 over Jefferson Academy, 25-0 and 31-0 over Middle Park, and 19-0 against Greeley Central.

They’re in a tournament Friday against Longmont and Skyline.

Elsewhere, Eaton (5-4) remains No. 1 despite its four-game losing streak, falling last week to 4A-ranked teams in Holy Family and Riverdale Ridge and 5A No. 5 Horizon.

No. 2 Strasburg moved to 11-0 on the season with a 2-0 win over Wheat Ridge Tuesday and 12-6 win No. 7 Brush. Heidi Price scattered seven hits in her second straight shutout Tuesday. She had two homers and six RBIs in the win Thursday.

No. 3 University (8-5) bounced back from a three-game losing streak (Horizon, Erie and Holy Family) with a 9-7 win over Northridge Tuesday and an 11-1 win over Berthoud. Iliana Martinez had five hits and six RBIs over the wins.

For games to monitor this next week: Resurrection Christian hosts No. 5 Sterling Tuesday. The Tigers (8-1) have won four straight as pitcher Reagan Fehringer has thrown three consecutive shutouts.