Loss in RMAC title game ends season
A season of promise ended Saturday as the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team was eliminated from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament.
Nicole Breeding threw a complete-game shutout to lead the Regis Rangers to a 5-0 victory over the Mountain Lions in the championship game. The loss ended an up-and-down season for what may have been the most talented collection of athletes to ever represent UCCS in any sport.
Regis earned the RMAC's automatic bid to the South Central Regional Tournament. UCCS is ranked eighth in the region and is unlikely to be awarded an at-large berth in the six-team field.
Mountain Lions catcher Crystal Krebs set a new NCAA Division II record for home runs per game, finishing the season with 25 in 48 games (0.52 per game). The old record was 0.47, set by Megan Trimble of Philadelphia Sciences in 2004. Krebs also surpassed the Division I record of 0.51, held by Arizona's Laura Espinoza, but fell short of the Division III mark of 0.53, set by Michelle Zawoiski of Wilkes when she hit eight in 15 games in 1983.
"I feel so blessed to have come here my last two years of college ball and to have been able to play with these girls," said Krebs, who played her first two years at Division I Texas-Arlington. "I wouldn't change a thing in the world. Words can't describe the feeling about the time that I've shared with this team."
Krebs fell one short of matching the Division II record for total home runs in a season. Jackie Aiken of Wisconsin-Parkside hit 26 homers in 1996.
Breeding (18-4) scattered six hits in shutting down UCCS' potent offense.
It was a scoreless tie until the fifth inning, when Regis' Sharita Richmond, who was named tournament MVP, hit a two-run homer off of UCCS starter Amanda Ritchie (2-5). Michelle Johnston hit a solo shot two batters later to make it 3-0.
Regis added two more runs in the sixth.
The Mountain Lions advanced to the title game by blasting the New Mexico Highlands Cowgirls 8-0 in Saturday's morning game. Amber Colton (18-3) pitched a five-inning shutout and UCCS peppered Highlands starter Keri Evans (15-10) and reliever Lynette Hicks for nine hits in four innings.
A Lindsay Shandera RBI double and a three-run homer by Brittni Carlson put UCCS up 4-0 in the first inning. Kara Rainey belted a sacrifice fly and Shandera hit and RBI single in the second, and Shandera added an RBI ground out in the fourth.
It was the final collegiate game for seven UCCS seniors: Krebs, Colton, Rainey, Jennifer Dykstra, Brenna Pool, Charlene Berg and Sarah Wodniak.
Those seniors were the catalysts for the growth of a program that went from 8-36 in 2001 to No. 7 nationally in the 2005 preseason poll.
"There have been drastic improvements and honestly, I never thought that we would get to this position," said Colton, the cornerstone upon which the program was built. The Chemistry major from Loveland holds nearly every pitching record at UCCS.
Since the arrival of the "Colton Class," the Mountain Lions have gone 26-30, 22-26, 39-13 and 30-18.
"I always though that we were going to be a good team from the way that we started," said Colton. "To grow into a great team was never in my imagination. I never expected any of this."
Expected, no. But UCCS certainly appreciated it
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
|Additional News Stories|
|May 19, 2005||Krebs signed by pro team||University of Colorado at Colorado Springs All-American catcher Crystal Krebs signed a contract Thursday with the Texas Thunder of National Pro Fastpitch.|
|May 12, 2005||Krebs named academic All-District||To the growing collection of awards and honors in Crystal Krebs' overstuffed trophy case, another was added Thursday. This one, though, was just a little different.|
|May 9, 2005||Krebs, Colton named RMAC Player and Pitcher of the year||University of Colorado at Colorado Springs seniors Crystal Krebs and Amber Colton were named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference's Player and Pitcher of the Year, the conference announced Tuesday.|
|May 6, 2005||Berg's clutch hit lifts Lions||Charlene Berg belted a two-run, game-winning double to left center in the bottom of the seventh inning to lift the lethargic University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Mountain Lions to a 4-3 victory over Nebraska-Kearney in the second round of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Tournament Friday.|