Berthoud softball wins season finale, prepares for Regionals

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Berthoud third baseman Lindsay Erickson tags out Holy Family’s Skylar Gardner at third base during the final regular season game at Bein Field on Oct. 8. The Spartans begin Regionals this Saturday. John Gardner / The Surveyor

Berthoud third baseman Lindsay Erickson tags out Holy Family’s Skylar Gardner at third base during the final regular season game at Bein Field on Oct. 8. The Spartans begin Regionals this Saturday.
John Gardner / The Surveyor

Momentum, confidence, a positive vibe; these are not things that one can find in a box score or with a quick glance at the season standings, but they are critically important for teams heading into the playoffs. And the Berthoud High softball team has these things, oodles of them in fact, as they prepare to begin the postseason.

The Lady Spartans came out on top in their final two regular season games, winning a road affair 7-2 on Oct. 6 against always-tough Windsor and then blanking Holy Family 3-0 at Bein Field in the season finale on Oct. 8.

“Big, big, big, it was really big for us confidence-wise,” said Berthoud Head Coach Buddy Kouns when asked after the Holy Family game about the impact of winning their final two regular season games. “Today was huge and the Tuesday game with Windsor was huge.”

Berthoud centerfielder Sydney Kouns echoed her coach’s (and uncle’s) sentiments.

“Oh it’s definitely important,” Sydney said. “It’s always good to have momentum going into the end of the season.”

Kouns, one of five seniors on the Lady Spartans squad added, “We’re really bonding and playing together as a team.”

Berthoud scored all the runs they would need to beat Holy Family in the bottom half of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Delaney Fouts reached base after working a six-pitch walk, advanced to third on a pair of passed balls by Holy Family catcher Katelyn Caviness, and crossed home plate when Taylor Armitage looped a single into shallow right field.

The RBI single was Armitage’s 18th on the season, the second-most on the team to Madi Herbert (19), and senior pitcher and shortstop led Berthoud in hits (24), runs scored (22), batting average (.400) and stolen bases (11).

Armitage also was credited with the save as the senior threw three scoreless innings, surrendering a single base hit while striking out a pair, in relief of Larissa Royer, who struck out seven and scattered three hits in four innings of work from inside the circle.

“I planned to split the game today, I wanted to get [Royer and Armitage] some work…and we played solid, Larissa struggled a little with the strike zone…she pitched herself into trouble but she pitched her way out of it,” Buddy Kouns said.

Berthoud's Lindsay Erickson receives a couple of carnations from her mother prior to the start of the game vs. Holy Family on Oct. 8. The team's six seniors were recognized at Senior Night prior to the game.
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Royer pitched with traffic on the bases in each of her four innings, but worked out of every jam. In the top of the first, Holy Family’s Skylar Gardner worked a two-out walk but, when Jazmin Means singled to left field, Berthoud left fielder Tristan Pope cut Gardner down at third base with a perfect throw and textbook tag from Lindsay Erickson, for the third and final out of the inning.

Royer worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third, striking out Kendall Holmes to end the inning. In the fourth, Berthoud catcher Hannah Langer cut down Caviness at second base on a steal attempt, and Royer fanned Jalen Gonzalez to end the frame.

The Lady Spartans got a pair of insurance runs when Sydney Kouns scored on a Pope single in the bottom of the fifth and Erickson, after stealing second, came around to score when Langer legged-out a single in the sixth. Sydney Kouns finished the game with a pair of hits, both soft singles that found gaps in the Holy Family defense, and enters the postseason on something of a hot streak from the plate with four hits in her last seven at bats.

“Just keep my mind clear and do whatever I can to help my team, little base hits can be help, it doesn’t always have to be homeruns every time,” she explained.

The senior centerfielder finished the regular season with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage with 19 put-outs and an outfield assist in 20 total chances, “I’m 100-percent comfortable out there,” the shortstop-turned-centerfielder said.

Sydney Kouns helped preserve the shutout when she chased down a short fly ball to record the third out of the fifth inning, nearly having to dive to make the grab.

“I definitely saw it off the bat so I knew the direction it was going, it died a little faster than I thought it would so I almost had to dive for it there,” she said.

With the back-to-back wins, Berthoud (12-5, 7-5) finished in third place in the Tri-Valley Conference and got a favorable draw for 4A Regionals. The Lady Spartans enter double-elimination Regionals as the nine seed and will travel to Longmont where the remainder of their bracket is comprised of host-team and eight-seed Silver Creek (13-5-1, 1-3), 24-seed Green Mountain (12-7, 4-4) and 25-seed Mead (9-10, 3-9). The Lady Spartans will face Green Mountain in game one, scheduled for a 10 a.m. first pitch, on Saturday, Oct. 17.

Coach Kouns is pleased with the draw and also likes the fact that his team will have to travel, but not a long distance, for Regionals saying, “I like to be on the road, I think we’re a better road team anyway.”

“I think we’re very good defensively, I think we’re good from inside the circle and I think we’re a scary hitting team,” said Buddy Kouns. “We’re a team somebody doesn’t want to face because when we click it’s scary.”