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With comeback victory over Gervais, new hitting area on the way, Lady Vikings look strong

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Colton's Madelynne Pierce took to the mound in the blowout victory over Delphian. Colton's softball team has quietly become one of the better teams in the league, and one of the more consistent teams in the state. Now sitting at 19th according to the OSAA rankings, the Lady Vikings have put together another string of victories. This time, Colton sandwiched a comeback win over Gervais between blowout victories of Culver and Delphian.

After that trio of victories Colton is now in fourth place of the Special District 2 (SD2), and just a half game back from Gervais. The Lady Vikings record is now 13-9 overall, and 9-5 in district play.

In the rematch against Gervais, Colton trailed for a majority of the game. The Bulldogs led 5-0 through three innings, and 6-2 through five, but Colton was not about to give up. After getting the game tied up heading into the seventh inning the Lady Vikings, with two outs, two strikes, and two runners on base, were able to bring in both for the victories.

It was, what Colton softball coach Jim Brochis called, a gut check moment.

"It showed that they wanted it," Brochis said. "I also think they had lost some events to Gervais in volleyball, and maybe in basketball. Some of these girls know each other, and they really wanted to beat Gervais. This is a good group. One thing I have to say about the Colton kids is that they're very hard working. The senior kids never stopped working throughout the whole process. I've never had a senior who has slacked."

With just three games left in the regular season, Colton is gearing up for the playoffs. On Monday, May 13 the team rematches 3A Dayton (16-4) in a non-league affair in what Brochis sees as his toughest remaining matchup. The Pirates beat Colton in its season opener 10-5 on Thursday, March 14. League games against Sheridan and Jefferson bear their own challenges, but after dominating those teams in the first go around, 10-run victories are what is expected.

"I think we're peaking really well, and I think these games will give us a chance to work some of the players we don't get a chance to play that have been working really hard," Brochis said. "It gives me a chance to get some of those in. At some point or another, they may be critical in a certain situation. I see the Dayton game as more of a vision as to where we might be. The other ones though, we want to continue to play hard and not play down. I see the games as progress, and we have goals. We need to 10-run them each. I think it's all coming together."

Outside of competition, the Colton softball team is building up its future, in a fairly literal sense. Next to the softball field, the team is utilizing volunteer labor and donations to construct a new hitting area exclusively for the softball team. It's something that Brochis and his program have talked about for a while now, and ground is finally being broken on it.

"One thing we noticed when we're going to these other places, is that they have hitting facilities," Brochis said. "We finally got money together and we're starting the process of building that. That will allow us to…when basketball season is going on...work out. This allows us to work throughout the year if anyone ever wants to come and hit. We can even do fielding and pitching in there. That's something we noticed was that top teams all have beautiful hitting areas right there."

The hitting area is, in Brochis's estimation, going to be around $10,000 to complete, with funds coming together after hanging onto money gathered for a little league trip to Montana last summer.

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Colton softball is busy building a new hitting area for the team to practice in during off season. "We had raised some money when we went to play in a state tournament in the little league program over the summer," Brochis said. "We did really well and won the state part of it, and went to Montana and played in the regionals. After we spent that money over there, we still had some money left over. There was some money for our program. We said, 'Hey, this would be a good opportunity to use this area (by the softball field).'"

With completion of the new hitting area expected to be completed around fall of this year, the team will have to make do for the remainder of the season. But with only a handful of regular season games to go, and a stab at the postseason shortly thereafter, Colton looks poised to continue its upswing.

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