AURORA — A year ago, Eaton's season came to an end at the hands of eventual state champion Rocky Ford.
This year, the Reds got to return the favor.
Junior Lauren Frink threw a complete-game shutout and got plenty of run support as Eaton beat the Meloneers 8-0 to advance to the Class 3A softball semifinal. Frink struck out five Rocky Ford hitters through the game.
"It's pretty special to know that you can bounce back and beat a team that you have history with," Frink said. "We still have the confidence in us as a team that we would be able to do that."
The Reds got off to a quick start as Remington Ross and Jennifer Jarnigan started the game with back-to-back singles. Ross had stolen second and third, so she came home on Jarnigan's hit to put Eaton on the scoreboard. Allie Hobbs added one of her own two hitters later then Melanie Frye drove in two to make it a quick 3-0 lead for Eaton.
"The help of our offense is always a great asset," Frink said. "It's so much easier to go out and pitch when your team offensively and defensively have your back."
They added three more in the third and two in the fourth to push the lead to 8-0. But the Meloneers weren't going to let a mercy rule come into play.
The Eaton side was retired in order in the fifth and sixth innings, but the Meloneers weren't able to get any runners
Rocky Ford advanced to the quarters with a 7-6 comeback win over Meeker. The quarterfinal matchup was a rematch of last year semifinal, a game that Rocky Ford won 12-5.
A win over the Meloneers may have massaged some bruises for the past, but the Reds would much rather focus on the task of moving forward and claiming the school's first state softball title.
"We don't want to get too lost in those kind of thoughts," coach Dale Hughes said. "We just want to keep our thought process moving forward."
So forward they will move as they are set to take on Strasburg. The Indians kept their hopes of returning to the championship game alive with a 2-0 win over La Junta in the quarterfinals.
The other semifinal game will pit Brush against Faith Christian. The Beetdiggers beat Patriot League rival University 8-4 in the quarterfinals while Faith Christian held off a seventh-inning comeback attempt from Sterling.
The Eagles came away with a 9-8 win.