5A Region 1
At Cherry Creek: Three Liberty tennis players will get a taste of the state tournament for the first time.
No. 3 singles Caroline MacDonald and the No. 3 doubles pair of Velma Jijina and Madison Fritts both reached their finals matches before falling to Cherry Creek opponents. But that didn't matter, since they avoided playback matches to progress to next week's state tournament.
"I was so happy how the girls pulled together," Lancers coach Ernie Zamora said. "I was happy how they put into play the strategies we identified, not only prior to that but also at the start to eliminate the strength of their opponents."
Jijina and Fritts were the perfect example of putting strategy to work. After splitting the first two sets in their semifinals match, the pair heeded Zamora's advice and used Jijina's long wingspan at the net and Fritts' lob ability to exploit their Greeley West opponents, winning the match 6-1, 5-7, 6-3.
MacDonald, a senior, will cap her high school career off with a trip to the Gates Tennis Center in Denver.
"She was elated," Zamora said. "She earned the spot, that's for sure. She played some excellent tennis up until the final with Cherry Creek."
The Lancers finished third at the regional in team points.
5A Region 8
At Doherty: Doherty's No. 1 singles Kylie Simons reached the finals of the top-ranked division with the inside track to advance to the state tournament. Simons, the No. 3 seed, defeated Castle View's Shannon Hickey to reach the finals. Simons will face Ponderosa's Lauren Lindell, the top seed in the bracket, on Friday.
Emma Chesire is in the No. 3 singles consolation final. A victory could put her in a playback with a shot at the state tournament, depending on the outcome of the finals match.
The No. 1 doubles consolation final pits Pine Creek's Michaela Flonard and Kayla Boyd against Doherty's Nicole Allen and Kayla Wald against each other with a possible state berth down the road.
4A Region 6
At Cheyenne Mountain: Air Academy and Cheyenne Mountain head into the final day of the regional tied with 68 points. And there is a good reason for the tie. Both teams will go head to head in each of Friday's seven matches.
The Kadets will get their shot at the Indians, the 4A defending state champions, when play resumes.
None of the semifinals matches went three sets.
Palmer Ridge 7, Discovery Canyon 1
At Palmer Ridge: Jake Grubesic threw Palmer Ridge (13-6 overall, 11-3 4A Pikes Peak Athletic Conference) on his back once again.
The junior pitcher gave up six hits and one unearned run to grab his seventh win of the season.
The Bears' offense, meanwhile, answered Discovery Canyon's lone run in the second inning with a five-run outburst in the bottom half of the inning to give Grubesic more than enough breathing room.
Grubesic has pitched 40 innings this season, and is 7-1 with a 1.75 ERA.
Facing him Thursday was Alec Heebner. He gave up five runs and only lasted three innings for the Thunder (6-13, 5-9), who dropped both games against the Bears this week.
Doherty 11, Fountain-Fort Carson 3
At Fountain-Fort Carson: Plagued by inconsistency at the start of the year, the Doherty Spartans (10-8 overall, 7-2 5A Colorado Springs Metro League) don't seem to be having any trouble now.
Winners of their last six games, the Spartans pounded Fountain-Fort Carson (7-12, 5-5) for the second time in two days. Lalo Porras went 4 for 4 with two triples and a double, and Will Reynolds hit a two-run double in the rout.
Nick Chavez earned the win, giving up five hits and three runs in six innings.
The Spartans can grab a share of the league crown with a win over Pine Creek on Saturday.
The Trojans were swept by Pine Creek and Doherty in two-game series this season.
Lewis-Palmer 12, Vista Ridge 0
At Vista Ridge: The Lewis-Palmer Rangers (16-3, 14-0 4A PPAC) finished the regular season undefeated in league play.
They did it in style too, handing Vista Ridge (4-15, 1-13) another bruising loss.
After beating the Wolves 12-1 on Tuesday, the Rangers had eight players drive in runs on Thursday. Ben Stinson, Paul Tillotson and Nick Lincoln each drove in two runs apiece.
Vista Ridge lost seven in a row to close out the regular season.
Cheyenne Mountain 12, Air Academy 8
At Air Academy: Cheyenne Mountain went up 10-2, and then hung on from there.
Jack Seaton, Nic Lacayo and Sam McCarthy drove in two runs apiece as the Indians beat Air Academy in game 2 after dropping game 1 of the series Tuesday.
Ryan McCarthy went 3 for 4 with two RBIs for the Kadets, who scored four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to close the deficit to 10-6.
That's as close as Air Academy would get, however, as it could not bounce back from five errors.
Cheyenne Mountain's Cody McCurry earned the win, giving up eight runs and striking out seven in a complete-game performance.
Falcon 14, Sand Creek 13
At Falcon: Back and forth, and back and forth was how Falcon (9-10 overall, 7-7 4A PPAC) edged Sand Creek (5-14, 2-12).
The Falcons went up 12-1 after the second inning before Sand Creek stormed back with 12 straight runs to take the 13-12 lead after the sixth inning.
The Falcons, however, scored two in the bottom of the seventh inning to close the door on the Scorpions.
Zach Keaton went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Keenan Morgan went 1 for 3 with two more RBIs for Sand Creek, which was pounded by Falcon 13-1 in game 1 of the series on Tuesday.
Falcon did not report individual stats.
Liberty 12, Rampart 9
At Liberty: Liberty pitcher Kyle Simon got the win despite giving up a huge third inning to Rampart (2-16-1 overall, 1-9 5A Metro).
The Rams scored seven runs in the third inning to close the deficit to 8-7, but the Lancers (6-12, 3-7) put up four more runs - without getting a lot of hits - to ice the game.
Rampart, which beat Liberty on Tuesday for its first league win of the year, out-hit Liberty 10-8 Thursday.
The Lancers won their first league game in their last six tries.
Palmer Ridge 1, Doherty 0
At Palmer Ridge: Mackenzie Gouner's goal in the 8th minute was all stingy Palmer Ridge (8-5-1) needed to beat Doherty (7-7).
Gouner has been clutch all season for the Bears, scoring the lone goal on three different occasions when the game has ended with a 1-0 score.
Kaylyn Smith made seven saves in the win, while Riley Furbush made six saves in the loss.
Cheyenne Mountain 3, Wheat Ridge 0
At Cheyenne Mountain: Cheyenne Mountain (13-0-2) completed an undefeated regular season with the shutout win over Wheat Ridge.
No stats were submitted by press time.
ECA 4, Colorado Springs School 2
At CSS: ECA's Kaitlin Bevel scored three goals and Tori Mann added another, all in the first half, as the Eagles (13-2) held on to beat CSS (5-3-2).
Nataya Stepleton scored her 12th and 13th goals of the season in the second half to cut the deficit in half. But Eagles keeper Maggie Kirkpatrick did enough to close the door, making nine saves on the day.
Fountain Valley 12, Vanguard 2
At Fountain Valley: After losing to St. Mary's for the league title on Monday, Fountain Valley (11-3 overall, 7-1 3A Region 1) came out strong against Vanguard in its regular-season finale.
McKenna Monk and Clare Hamilton scored four goals apiece, and the Danes walked all over the Coursers, taking 26 shots on the day.
Vanguard did not report individual stats.
Air Academy 5, Coronado 0
At Air Academy: Five players scored for the Air Academy Kadets (7-6-1), who are starting to find their footing after a tough start to the season.
The Kadets outshot Coronado 25-2.
Emily Lambert made 20 saves for the Cougars (7-7), who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
Falcon 10, Florence 0
At Falcon: Jordan McQuesten scored three goals as Falcon (7-8) blanked Florence (6-7).
Kaitlyn Brink added two goals for the Falcons, who led 8-0 after the first half.
The Huskies were held scoreless in four games this season.
Palmer 13, ThunderRidge 5
At Garry Berry Stadium: Noah Smith scored four goals, Carter Jensen had three and Sam Horning had two in Palmer's win over ThunderRidge.
Caleb Espinoza made 12 saves to give the Terrors (10-4 overall, 7-3 Douglas County League) a nice cushion throughout.
Alexander Dawson 8, St, Mary's 7, OT
At Alexander Dawson: Alex Greenly and Wes Moran scored three goals apiece, but St. Mary's (6-7) fell in overtime to host Alexander Dawson.
The Pirates made it close despite being outshot 33-14 due in part to Dylan Tait's 18 saves. St. Mary's lost three of its last four games.
Rampart 15, Palmer 5
At Rampart: Rampart's Kelli Warmouth ended the regular season with 60 goals, eight more of them coming on Thursday.
Allie Popelar added four goals and Lexi Alford added another two as the Rams (10-5 overall, 4-3 Southern League) crushed Palmer (9-5, 2-3).
Palmer did not report individual stats.
Palmer 159, Pueblo Central 19
Fountain-Fort Carson 139, Pueblo Central 30
Palmer 124, Fountain-Fort Carson 62
At Fountain-Fort Carson: Palmer had top times in nine of the 12 events.
Scored as a double dual, Maxx Helfer had top times in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke, and then helped the 200-medley and 200-freestyle relays to the top of the podium.
As a result, the Terrors won both of their dual matchups.
Brenan Bloyd, meanwhile, won the 50 freestyle and 100 backstroke for Fountain-Fort Carson, which beat Pueblo Central but lost to Palmer.