Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

By Aurelia Pollard

Niwot softball wraps up its season


November 22, 2016

The Niwot High School softball team ended its season earlier than planned, missing the state playoffs by one spot in the rankings.

Softball Head Coach Bobby Matthews knew this season would be challenging after losing eight seniors from the previous season, but was still hopeful for the young team he was putting together.

The team finished with an overall record of 9-10 and a league record of 7-7. With its last game ending in a 3-2 loss to Thompson Valley, the Cougars did not advance to the playoffs. Matthews said his players worked hard throughout the season and improved their skills.

“I knew we were young this season but felt we left three to four wins out there,” Matthews said. “Overall we saw growth and the ladies worked hard all season. They improved throughout the year at the positions they were playing.”

The Niwot softball team will see six seniors graduating this year, including Grace Ladd, Lauren Bock, Megan Little, Madison Kunkel, Sierra Ivan and Hailey Noterman. Ladd and Kunkel were two of the team’s top players this year, as Ladd returned to the circle as the team’s strongest pitcher.

“We are losing our two pitchers from this season in Grace Ladd and Maddie Kunkel,” Matthews stated. “We need to replace them but we have some pitchers in the wings.”

Matthews said Ladd batted .547, with 10 doubles, one triple, five home runs and 32 RBI’s. “Senior Maddie Kunkel had her best year. She batted .478, led the team in on base percentage at .593,” Matthews added.

Ladd and Kunkel were aided by two newcomers, freshmen Reagan Wills and Madysun Vaughan, who had strong first years on the team. Wills hit .491, with two doubles, two triples and 25 RBI’s. Vaughan hit .500, with six doubles, two triples, three home runs and 27 RBI’s.

All four earned All-Conference awards, which were officially announced at the team’s banquet on Nov. 9. Ladd was also recognized as Maxpreps All-State Honorable Mention and by the Colorado Coaches of Girls Sports (CCGS).

“Grace Ladd was selected by the CCGS All-State Game,” Matthews explained. “[She’s] the second player to be selected in seven years for Niwot [since] Nickie Blue.”

Not only is the Cougar softball team comprised of talented players, but they’ve also stayed on top of their school work throughout their season, earning the Les Schwab Academic All State Team Award.

“This award is given to teams who have a 3.5 or above GPA as a team,” Matthews explained of the award. “This is the fifth year in a row we have won this award. This is a testament to the program’s expectation of academic excellence.”

Even though the team didn’t make the playoffs, missing by a .002 percent in the final RPI rankings, Matthews was still proud of how the girls came ready to play at every game. According to the Rating Percentage Index (RPI), Niwot came in at number 31 and would have been one of the 32 teams to make the playoffs, but two western slope teams with lower RPI’s earned playoff spots by winning a league championship.

“As a coach I appreciate their approach to coming in everyday and working hard,” Matthews said of his players.


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