Colton pitches Lions past Pioneers
SAN ANTONIO - The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs waited 14 seasons to qualify for NCAA Division II South Central Regional Softball Tournament, so a few extra hours wasn't going to make a difference.
Amber Colton shook off the affects of a 6Â½ hour rain delay as the Mountain Lions defeated the Texas Woman's Pioneers 2-1 Friday night to stave off elimination. CU-Colorado Springs will play Tarleton State in yet another elimination game on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (9:30 MST).
"It started and ended with Amber Colton," said CU-Colorado Springs coach Scott Peterson. "She had another great pitching performance."
Colton (19-6) allowed only four hits and a walk while striking out six. Two of those hits, however, came in the seventh inning when the Pioneers hit consecutive singles to put runners on first and second with one out. Despite the threat, Colton remained unflappable.
"I remember back in the first inning they got two people on without any outs and we got out of that inning unscathed so I was like, "˜we can do this; it's not a big deal,'" said Colton. "I have confidence in our team and our defense, so I wasn't worried at all."
Colton retired the final two batters and Texas Woman's, which beat CU-Colorado Springs in an early season tournament in Las Vegas, was eliminated.
"Our goal is not to let anybody beat us twice this year," said Peterson. "If things stay this way, we should be OK."
CU-Colorado Springs led 1-0 after Kara Rainey led off the game with a single, advanced to second on Sonia Reyes' walk, went to third after tagging up on a Crystal Krebs fly out to right, and scored on a wild pitch by Texas Woman's starter Dawn England.
Two batters into the bottom of the second inning, the grey skies that had provided a welcome respite from the usually oppressive San Antonio heat, provided instead an unwelcome old-fashioned gully-washer. The downpour, combined with lightning, forced tournament officials to suspend play until 8:45 p.m., a delay of over six hours.
For Colton, who struggles with chronic back problems, the delay could have been disastrous.
"I can out here really stiff (after the delay), so I had to run a little extra," said Colton. "After that, I was fine. There was still stiffness, but I dealt with it."
Peterson, though, saw a bright side to the dark skies.
"We had a couple of kids who were hurt and sore and they were able to go back (to the hotel) and relax and get some ice," said Peterson. "I think the layoff helped us."
Texas Woman's opened the post-rain scoring, tying the game when Jennifer Collins led off the fourth inning with a solo home run to left field, her second in as many games.
CU-Colorado Springs took the lead for good in the fifth. Reyes led off with her second walk of the game, went to second on a Brittni Carlson single, took third on another long Krebs fly to right, and scored on Lindsay Shandera's RBI single.
For Reyes, who had walked only five times this season prior to Friday, the extra patience was intentional.
"Lately I've been seeing the ball really good and so I've been really selective," said Reyes. "I'll do whatever I can do to get on (base)."
Back in Colorado Springs, thousands of students, faculty, staff and alumni know exactly what Reyes is coming from. After all, they've also been patiently waiting for 14 years.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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