Spartans’ Royer throws no-hitter against Blue Devils

By Dan Karpiel
The Surveyor

Sometimes everything comes together perfectly.

The weather was ideal – temperature in the upper 80s, mostly sunny, nary a breeze in the air. The opponent was the deficient, dispirited, disheveled, dare one say dysfunctional, Lady Blue Devils of Fort Lupton. And inside the circle for the Berthoud High School softball team was Larissa Royer. Okay, Miss Royer may not have been perfect – she did surrender a walk in the bottom of the second inning – but she did not allow a single hit as she led the Lady Spartans to an 18-0 win on Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to throwing a no-hitter, Royer also turned in a two-for-three, four-run, five-RBI afternoon from the plate. The junior belted a three-run homer, which she called “a meat ball,” in the top of the third to give the Lady Spartans 13-0 lead before one-third of the Fort Lupton order had even stepped foot in their home field batter’s box.

“My curves were working really well and I was just hoping that if the ball ever did get in play that my fielders would be all over it,” Royer said after the game. “It’s not about getting a no-hitter, that’s just a bonus.”

Royer not only faced the minimum in her (mercy-rule shortened) four innings of work inside the circle, she struck out seven and did not allow anyone to advance beyond first base. After yielding a walk to Fort Lupton’s Laura Floodeen to leadoff the second inning, Floodeen was cut down at second base when attempting to advance on a fielding error by Berthoud. Said error allowed Tiffany Paz to reach first base, but she was subsequently thrown out by catcher Hannah Langer on an attempted steal.

“She was hitting her spots, she wasn’t messing around, she took it to them…overall she was just really focused and determined to win and shut them down and that’s what she did,” said Berthoud Head Coach Ashtin Williamson.

Floodeen, pitching for Fort Lupton, was throwing at slower speeds than the pitchers Berthoud has become accustomed to facing. The Lady Spartans entered the game fully aware of Floodeen’s lower-than-usual velocity and came prepared to adjust.

“We practiced really hard getting them to sit and wait on the pitches, it’s a big adjustment going from fast pitching to slow pitching; it’s one of the hardest things,” Williamson said.

The preparation bore fruit as Berthoud tallied 18 hits in 30 at-bats.

“We just wanted to get a job done and put another ‘W’ on the board,” Williamson said.

Berthoud 12, Silver Creek 10

Berthoud took a 9-0 lead into the bottom half of the fourth inning on Sept. 13 in Longmont against Silver Creek, but the Lady Raptors rallied, pushing five runs across the plate in both the fourth and sixth innings. With the game tied at 10 runs apiece, Berthoud scored twice in the top of the seventh and was able to hold on for the win.

“I think it was a big eye-opener for them…it was a scary win, but it was a win, and we will take it,” Williamson said.

Senior centerfielder and team captain Jessi Boruff was just a homerun shy of the cycle on a three-for-four afternoon from the plate.

Berthoud 3, Erie 5

The Lady Spartans lost another painfully close game to their Tri-Valley Conference nemesis Erie on Sept. 11. A pair of unearned runs by Erie ultimately made the difference in less-than-pleasant weather conditions. Berthoud was able to score three runs on just five hits and two walks, but four errors by the normally sure-handed Lady Spartans proved to be the difference.

Berthoud 8, Holy Family 3

Madi Herbert and Boruff each drove in a pair of runs, and player of the game Langer scored three runs to give Berthoud the 8-3 win in Broomfield on Sept. 9. Armitage struck out eight Tiger batters and allowed only one earned run in five innings of work, while Royer got the two-inning save for Berthoud.

Thursday afternoon Berthoud (9-5-, 3-4 TVC) begins a five-game stretch that will define their season. The Lady Spartans currently sit in fourth place in the seven-team TVC and will close out their regular season with conference games vs. Mead, Roosevelt, Frederick, Windsor and Holy Family.

“Right now it’s no-nonsense, just pure focus…we know we’ve got a lot at stake here; we don’t want to be the first team in Berthoud history not to make Regionals,” Williamson said. “And, not to put any added pressure on, but we really have to perform and rise to the occasion.”