Basalt softball splits with Rifle | AspenTimes.com

Basalt softball splits with Rifle

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jim Ryan contributed photoLonghorns third baseman Lane Calabro tags out a Rifle runner Saturday at Basalt High School.

Basalt – Basalt’s comeback bid came up one run short.

The Longhorns cut a seven-run deficit to one in Saturday’s doubleheader opener against 4A Rifle and had the tying run standing at second base with one out in the seventh. Bears ace Alisha Rodebaugh shut the door from there, however, inducing a flyout and a strikeout to preserve a 9-8 victory.

Basalt (11-4 overall, 3-0 3A Region 7) regrouped in the second game, pounding out 18 hits in a 34-2 rout of Rifle’s junior varsity.

“We came back and climbed right back into it,” Longhorns head coach Bruce Matherly said of Game 1. “The neat thing is these girls don’t ever get down. … A single and we would’ve tied it.”

Basalt’s one-run lead in Game 1 was shattered in the third, when the Bears tagged Longhorns starter Alexa Aitken for six hits and scored eight runs. Cortney Cordova hit a two-run double, Vanessa Herrera drove in two with a single and Kacey Caron added an RBI single in the inning.

Basalt could muster just one hit in the first four innings against Rodebaugh, one of the Western Slope’s top hurlers. It finally broke through in the fifth.

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After a strikeout and a flyout, Kira Selucky and Connor Adams – the Longhorns’ No. 8 and 9 hitters – reached on singles. Katie King followed with an RBI single, and Aitken walked. All-State shortstop Jamie Matherly then dealt the big blow, clearing the bases with a double to pull Basalt to within four at 9-5.

Selucky hit a two-run double and King a run-scoring triple in the sixth to cut the Longhorns’ deficit to just one.

They could pull no closer. Kenzie Kuhn hit a one-out double in the seventh, but she wound up being stranded.

Rodebaugh struck out 12 and scattered nine hits in a complete-game effort.

“We had one bad inning, one inning where we weren’t as clean,” Bruce Matherly said. “That was the difference. … We have to be really focused and on top of our game from the start to be competitive against good teams. … Rifle was a good test for us.”

The Bears’ JV was not. The Longhorns scored 12 or more runs in two of four innings played in a second game that was never competitive.

King hit an RBI single and Lane Calabro a two-run triple during a second inning in which Basalt scored 12 runs to take a 13-0 lead. Three other runs scored on errors.

Rifle pitchers combined to walk six in the inning – four scored.

Shelley Briscoe added a two-run single and Monique Rodriguez an RBI single in the Longhorns’ six-run third. Three other runs scored when a Bears’ outfielder misplayed a fly ball.

Every player in the lineup scored at least one run during a fourth inning in which Basalt sent 17 batters to the plate and plated 14 runs. Jamie Matherly led the way, driving in five runs in the frame with a single and a double. Kuhn added a two-run double, and Rodriguez and Adams also drove in runs.

The Longhorns host Cedaredge at 4 p.m. Tuesday. On Saturday, they’ll play a doubleheader at Gunnison to likely decide the Region 7 title. Basalt pulled off a dramatic doubleheader sweep of the Cowboys on the final weekend of last season to clinch the program’s first league title. The Longhorns trailed in both games.

“I think what we’ve got to do now is maintain our focus and concentrate on the means to the end,” Bruce Matherly said. “We can’t concentrate on stats. We need to focus on the little things …”

jmaletz@aspentimes.com