Roosevelt looking to take winning ways into state softball tournament

Elizabeth Roosevelt softball

(Lisa Hayes/

A quick glance at the Class 4A Region 2 softball tournament and it looked to be an uphill battle if Roosevelt was going to make it out of the weekend.

But that's why they play the games.

Going into the postseason, the Roughriders were the No. 24 seed and had to get by Pueblo West to make the path to state more attainable. When game time rolled around, there was no wasting time as sophomore Malaya Coleman blasted a home run right off the bat to get things going.

"She hit that home run and that just got our energy going," coach Vincent Moreno said. "She's such a spark plug for our team. When she gets on base, good things happen."

Good things ended up happening. Freshman Bridget McNeil chipped in with three RBI's and it was the Roughriders advancing to the regional championship game with a 7-4 win over the Cyclones.

Guaranteed two chances to win just one more game to advance, Roosevelt didn't want to leave anything to chance. After coming away with a win over Pueblo West, there was enough momentum with the Roughriders that they weren't happy just qualifying for state, they wanted to go home with a regional championship.

D'Evelyn was coming off a 13-1 win over Northfield and as the host of the region, was the perceived favorite to that regional championship. But just as they had in the opening game against the Cyclones, the Roughriders had other plans.

After falling behind 2-0 after the first inning, Roosevelt scored 12 runs over the next three innings to take commanding lead.

Coleman again proved to be that spark plug going 3-for-4 with three RBI's. Seven other hitters accounted for 10 more RBI's. The Jaguars battled back, but Roosevelt was able to hold them off and get the 14-13 win, and the regional title that might have seemed unlikely at the start of the weekend.

"For us, we were in a good region," Moreno said. "Those teams might've had higher seeds than us, but I knew we could compete with them. I knew we stood a good chance."

With an eye to this weekend, he's hoping the results of last weekend can be duplicated. The task is going to be just as tall.

Like last week, the Roughriders will open the tournament against a southern Colorado team as Pueblo County awaits in the first round. If last week's formula follows suit and they can get the win, a potential showdown with the No. 1 team on the bracket awaits.

But none of that is intimidating to Moreno or his girls.

"They're going out thinking they can win," Moreno said. "They can win the first game and they can go out and win the second game and hopefully get to Saturday. Our confidence right now is sky high."

Getting to Saturday is the key, because anything can happen on that second day. And if momentum has any chance of carrying over from regionals, Roosevelt has a chance to make the 2019 state softball tournament a memorable.

(Photo courtesy of Vincent Moreno)