Aspen softball gets in the swing of things this season
In its fourth year of existence, the Aspen High School girls softball team is enjoying a banner season.
The nine-player team that went winless in the program’s first season in 1997 has seven wins this season (and 24 players), including a win over Rifle on Tuesday and a sweep of Montrose in a doubleheader last Saturday.
And two Aspen seniors, catcher Samantha Haberman and pitcher/outfielder Stephanie Wettstein, have ushered the team through the tough times into a competitive era.
“They’re the only two seniors who made it all the way through the program,” said rookie head coach Ed Zane, who coached Aspen as an assistant in the three previous seasons. “Our first year, we weren’t even scoring runs. But they’re having a lot of fun now – you can just tell at practice – and they’re much more competitive too.”
In 1998, the team won two games, and in 1999, the team notched several wins, including its first victory at the varsity level, Zane said.
“They’re just starting to get it,” Zane continued. “Instead of getting crushed, they’re getting competitive and winning. They’re starting to understand what it’s all about.”
Aspen plays a doubleheader at home Saturday – at the new Moore Fields at the school district campus – against Gunnison beginning at 11 a.m.
Zane credited this season’s success to the play of seniors Haberman and Wettstein, as well as the defensive play of Michelle Faurer (junior, 1B), Becky Bruening (junior, 2B) and junior Muriel Hale. “She’s playing some really good shortstop,” the coach said.
At the plate, Zane said Jenah Fuechsel (junior, OF) and Ali Dinsmoor (junior, 3B) are swinging hot bats. “And we’ve had some great hitting from Kristin Zeller (P/OF), and she’s only a sophomore.”
Junior pitcher Megan Rust “has really come around,” Zane added. “She’s throwing the ball hard.”
“The team has come along unbelievably,” Zane continued. “They’re playing like a team, and their skills are getting better.”
In an effort to continue building the program, Zane said he hopes up-and-coming Aspen High softball players take advantage of the Aspen fast-pitch summer league.
“We would like to get the girls playing before they get to high school,” he said. “We have incoming freshmen who are good athletes, but it’s tough to get them to be competitive in just a few years. We need to get the word out about the summer league.”
“I think the girls are going to be good in the next few years,” Zane said. “Our JV team is beating a lot of the other JV teams. And we’ve got a lot of raw talent – Alex Bethal (freshman, SS), Aime Schwartz (freshman, OF) and Katie Hyman (freshman, 3B) – they’re picking it up quickly, and they’ve gotten into a few varsity games.”
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