Coach Glen Maestretti and his Lutheran girls softball team are facing yet another challenge this season.
Maestretti was the Lions’ first coach when the school introduced varsity softball to its athletic menu for the 2000-21 season and Lutheran went 17-2 and was the 3A state runner-up.
Lutheran won last year’s 3A state championship with a 29-0 record, and this season the Lions have moved up to Class 4A.
The Lions are doing well with its latest challenge as the state’s top-ranked 4A team with a 10-0 record.
“There’s always a challenge, they have to work a little harder, not that they have to go out and prove anything,” said Maestretti. “They’re a good ball club, regardless if it is 3A, 4A or 5A. They can compete with anybody.”
Lutheran remained unbeaten with an 8-5 4A Pikes Peak League victory over Palmer Ridge on Sept. 7. The visiting Bears saw their overall record dip to 7-4 and the Lions win stretched their two-season winning streak to 39 games.
“The good thing is there is still a ton to work on,” said Maestretti. “Obviously, you saw there are some things to clean up. We’ll just keep working and take it game by game.
“We have to pay attention to league. There is a tough schedule for us this year with a lot of the top 4A and 5A teams. We play Legend (Oct. 10) at the end of the year. I want to push these girls and get them good competition.”
Hailey Maestretti, a junior left-handed pitcher, limited Palmer Ridge to two hits in her six innings of work and struck out 12 batters to give her 102 strikeouts for the season.
Palmer Ridge scored five runs in the seventh inning off freshman reliever Ella Faries but the Lions had built up a cushion with an 8-0 lead.
Senior Taylor Cramer and sophomore MacKenzy Glenn each went 3-for-4 to spark the Lions’ offense while Zoe Stanzyk and Hailey Maestretti, the daughter of the coach, each had a pair of hits.
Moving up a classification doesn’t bother either Stanzyk or Hailey Maestretti.
“The competition is definitely higher,” said Stanzyk. “It’s great. It is so much better than playing 3A. There are more teams that are our speed.
“I think a lot about the games but put my trust back in my teammates to pick me up like a safety blanket. I trust my teammates our coaching staff and what we have been building on for years now.”
Hailey Maestretti improved her season earned run average to 0.37.
“I try to pitch and trust my team is behind me and they are always going to have my back with the bat,” said Hailey Maestretti. “I love going to 4A. I love having the competition and having those close games, those are the ones you remember.
“I love being forced to compete and be a good pitcher, be solid and clean with my pitching and have the the defense be clean and those are the good games you remember. When all the girls come together and play as one team., it is awesome to see and be a part of.”
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