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Delta softball season ends in state playoffs

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Photo courtesy Don Miller Delta junior Ashley Lahoe makes the throw from across the diamond to record an out as freshman pitcher Hailee Ruble, on knee, watches senior first baseman Breanna Sprout (11) prepare to catch Lahoe's throw. Delta lost the first r

Everything was good as the game began. Delta's Panthers had just scored two runs in the top of the first inning and expectations were high. Delta stopped Strasburg in its half of the first frame and the Panthers led 2-0 heading to the second inning. Strasburg went on to win the game 13-3.

Delta, the 3A state softball tournament's 14th seed, failed to score in the top of the second and needed another solid defensive effort in the bottom half of the inning to keep its lead. The Panthers defense wasn't perfect but it was good enough to allow Delta to keep a 2-1 lead after the final out in the inning.

A single run in the third made the score 3-1 with the Indians coming to bat in the bottom of the inning. An eight-run scoring binge from Strasburg changed the complexion of the game and left the Panthers trailing 9-3 heading to the fourth.

Strasburg stymied the Panthers' offense in the top of the fourth while its offense plated two more runs for an 11-3 lead.

The same scenario awaited the Panthers in fifth-inning play, which unfortunately, led to the game's end with Strasburg tacking on the final two runs for a 10-run win in five innings.

The loss ended Delta's run for a state title and left the Panthers with an overall record of 12-10 for the season.

Strasburg, the number three seed in this year's state tournament, went on to defeat No. 6 La Junta (2-0) in quarterfinal round play, and dispatched No. 2 Eaton, 10-9, in the semifinals.

The Indians marched into the finals where No. 1 Brush awaited. Strasburg didn't have too much trouble with the Beetdiggers and rolled to a 10-2 decision for the 2017 Class 3A State Softball Champioship. Strasburg finished with a 20-4 record and Brush was 19-5 for the season.

Delta had eight hits in the game against Strasburg with freshman Hailee Ruble going 2-3 with an RBI to lead Delta's offense. Freshman Keely Porter also had two hits and scored twice in the loss. Teammate Sami Lane, a junior, had two hits and scored once. Senior Breanna Sprout had one hit, a double, in the loss.

Strasburg's Jode Archuleta, a freshman, led the Indians' 12-hit attack. She left plenty of memories for herself, her teammates and opposing teams to ponder in the offseason. The power-hitting Archuleta cranked two home runs, scored twice and was 3-3 at the plate finishing the game with seven RBIs.

Senior Dakota Stotyn shared the fun with Archuleta by getting two hits, scored twice and hit a home run to finish the day with two RBIs. Junior Alexis Rayburn had a double in two hits, scored twice and knocked in two runs.

Stotyn was also the winning pitcher for Strasburg and finished the season with a record of 8-4. Ruble took the loss for Delta and finished at 9-5 for the season.

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