LONGMONT — Hockey officials may not enforce it, but softball umpires apparently will.
Before the start of the high school softball season, the officials decided that the obstruction rule on the books needed to be enforced.
Silver Creek coach Tom Buckett remembered that, and it paid off for his Raptors on Tuesday.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the fifth, a broken play went from disastrous to fortunate. Katie Sims broke for home when Dianna Buckett went for third. Sims was greeted by Greeley Central catcher Amber Sandau up the line from home plate, and Sandau tagged her out.
“I know she was up the line a fourth the way to third,” Sims said.
Problem was, she wasn’t supposed to be blocking the plate. After an appeal by Tom Buckett, the umpires called obstruction on Sandau, which helped pave the way for a five-run burst in a 7-3 Silver Creek win.
“At the coaches meeting before the season they emphasized that they were going to call it,” Buckett said. “You can’t block any base now without the ball. The catcher has to give the baseline and the plate. That’s been done because
there has been a lot of serious injuries in girls fastpitch softball.”
The only thing hurt on the play was the Wildcats’ hopes. Greeley Central entered the fifth with a 3-0 lead and was humming along. But Michelle Larcinese led off with a walk, and Becca Zaynor, Sims and Dianna Buckett singled to make it 3-2.
Then, when Shannon Whitmore grounded out for the first out of the inning, things got hairy. Buckett broke for third on the play, but Sims stayed put. When she noticed Buckett was at third, Sims went home and collided with Sandau.
“I knew I couldn’t go back to third,” Sims said.
After Sims was ruled safe, the Raptors (1-2, 1-2 Northern Conference) took over. Kasye Housman, Karen Hopper and Jessica Herzanek singled home a run each, and in the bottom of the sixth Denise Yogerst knocked in two more to put the game away.
“Momentum was definitely building, and we were getting more confident,” Yogerst said of the fifth inning. “We always stay up. We know there is always hope.”
The win was big because the Raptors were coming off of two tough losses. The first, to Sterling last week, was tough because they held a 5-3 lead and watched the Tigers come back and win. Saturday’s loss to Greeley West was tougher because they weren’t as intense.
“We were overconfident from a loss, if you can do that,” Tom Buckett said. “When you have a history of losing, sometimes that happens. The girls admitted it at practice Monday.”
They showed up Tuesday, and it paid off with what the Raptors considered a monumental victory.
“This is a huge win, probably the biggest one we’ve ever had,” Yogerst said.
Now the Raptors will try to even their record when they play host to Fort Lupton on Thursday.