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Fossil Ridge captures first softball state title by defeating Cherokee Trail

The SaberCats trailed the Cougars 1-0 early, but rallied to secure a 5-1 win and the 5A championship.

AURORA, Colo. — Two batters into the game, it didn't look great for No. 4 Fossil Ridge softball. 

Facing No. 10 Cherokee Trail in the Class 5A state softball championship game Saturday afternoon at the Aurora Sports Complex, the SaberCats found themselves down 1-0 before they recorded an out. 

Never fear, that was the only run Fossil Ridge would give up all afternoon, as the team captured its first title in program history with a 5-1 win. 

"It feels so good, best feeling in the world. We just played our hearts out and took it home," said sophomore catcher Kodi Alvord, who added some insurance late with a home run. 

After the early deficit, SaberCats pitcher Nikki McGaffin recorded 21-straight outs without giving up a run. 

"I just stuck to the game plan. In the first inning they jumped on me, but (I) worked my fingers and gave up some speed to work my spin and my defense worked great behind me. It just came out in our favor," McGaffin said. 

Up 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, Fossil Ridge pulled away thanks to a two-RBI single by junior Elizabeth Browning. The 4-1 lead seemed insurmountable with the way McGaffin was pitching. 

"It was just all about focus and knowing that I needed to do what I needed to do. (It) was all the steps I've worked towards in batting in every practice I've ever had," Browning said of the clutch hit.

For Fossil Ridge, the win was extra sweet after losing to Columbine in the championship game a season ago. 

Cherokee Trail finished 2020 in second place with their heads held high after upsets of Horizon, Broomfield and Chatfield in the state tournament. 

>>Watch the extended video above and see the highlights on the 9NEWS Prep Rally on Sunday morning!

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