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State softball tournament gets underway in Gillette

It’s the first ever Wyoming state high school softball tournament, and two schools from Cheyenne and both Casper schools are part of the festivities at the Energy Capital Sports Complex in Gillette.
Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 11:09 PM CDT
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GILLETTE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - WHSAA Commissioner Ron Laird threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Energy Capital Sports Complex in Gillette to officially get the first-ever Wyoming high school state softball championship underway.

Thirteen teams competed in the first high school spring season of the sport, and eight teams made their way to Gillette for the state tournament.

In the first official pitch of a game, Kelly Walsh’s Kynlee Griffith, a sophomore pitcher, missed low and away for a ball.

Kelly Walsh and Cheyenne Central were the first two teams to start playing on Thursday afternoon while it was still perfect weather for softball. Kelly Walsh came in as the number one seed out of the west, but that did not intimidate Central.

Central’s Brogan Allen took Griffith deep over the centerfield fence for a two-run homer, and the Indians never looked back. They led most of the game before the Trojans mounted a late comeback, but the Indians were able to hold off the charge and hold on for a 7-5 victory.

On the neighboring field at the same time, Cheyenne East and Natrona County faced off.

It wasn’t a pleasant day to be in the batter’s box against East’s Ariana Galicia. Natrona County could not figure out how to get to Galicia, even when she took a line drive off of her hand in the 7th inning.

East’s Lillian Vellejo and Jaylyn Christensen each ripped RBI doubles that would be more than enough for Galicia. Galicia finished with 16 strikeouts in a complete game shutout over the Mustangs.

“We were all really pumped up before the game, and so I just knew I had to go out there, do my job, throw strikes, so my team could make the outs,” said Galicia in a postgame interview about the emotions heading into the matchup.

The Thunderbirds advance with a 3-0 victory. They’ll face Central at 10 AM on Friday with the winner headed to the semifinals.

The tournament is double elimination, so Natrona County and Kelly Walsh’s seasons are not over. They’ll face off at noon tomorrow with the winner remaining alive.

In the other two games of the afternoon, Gillette’s schools defended their home turf. Campbell County won decisively 12-3 over Cody, and Thunder Basin didn’t leave a doubt with a 23-0 victory over Rock Springs.

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