TJ softball heads back to the state tournament after an incredible season.
Suffering a heartbreaking loss in the first round of the state level softball tournament last year, the Thomas Jefferson softball team was hoping for redemption against their rival Valor Christian, as well as another chance at winning a state title. With an overall record of 19-2, the softball team had a stellar season. After beating some of the bigger names in the state, like Regis Jesuit, Pueblo West, and Denver East, the Spartans were ranked 6th in 4A. Being one of the top seeds, the Spartans had the honor of hosting regionals.
“It was like a ’finally!’ moment. It was historic because TJ softball has never done it before, I was so happy, it’s like this whole year little parts of my dreams were coming true. Hosting regionals was a goal that we had, and we accomplished it,” senior and pitcher Zoya Robbins explained. Regionals consist of 32 teams separated into eight regions. On October 14th, the Spartans took the field and faced off against a hungry Longmont team, handling them easily with a score of 10-0. Following that, the Spartans had one more game until they were state bound. Their next opponent was Conifer. “After winning against Longmont I became very confident that we were headed to state because we have played Conifer multiple times and defeated them multiple times,” said junior catcher Daija Robbins. The Spartans beat Conifer 8-1 and got the opportunity to advance to state.
In the week leading up to the big game, the Spartans poured their hearts into practicing and sharpening their skills for a team that they had never played before: the Mountain View Lions, ranked 11th in 4A. As the game began, for the first few innings both teams made incredible stops against the other offense. The Spartans struggled as one of the Lions drove a softball straight into first base and had a fortunate bounce, not in the Spartan’s favor. This unlucky play allowed two of the Lions to score. But the inning did not stop there; TJ made several more errors and allowed Mountain View to get a 4 run lead on them before getting the third out.
Unfortunately, the Spartans could not generate enough offense to score against the impressive defense of the Lions. After a few more scoreless innings, the Lions produced another run and ended the game with a final score of 5-0. The Lions went on and won the tournament, beating Pueblo Central in the finals 7-2. “I was sad that our season was over and I was upset because I felt like I hadn’t played my best, but overall it didn’t take away anything that we had accomplished over the season. We went 19-3, and we lost to the team that ended up winning the championship, so I’m not disappointed at all. We worked our hearts out all season, and nothing can take that away,” senior and first baseman Sevi Harden said.
Looking to the future, the team has a tough road ahead of them, as they will lose seven seniors who will be hard to replace. Zoya, who already has two offers to play college softball, left the team with one final message: “My heart hurts, but my teammates, coaches, and family won’t remember this final game, they’ll remember the six years of memories that can’t be replaced.” Congratulations to the seniors and best of luck in college. The Spartan community looks forward to seeing what the girls will do next season.