Roundup: Basalt shines on the diamond | AspenTimes.com

Roundup: Basalt shines on the diamond

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Jim Ryan/Special to The Aspen TimesThe Longhorns' Brittany Driscoll celebrates after three teammates score during Thursday's game against Grand Junction's junior varsity at Basalt High School.

BASALT – It took awhile for the Basalt bats to get going Thursday. When they did, the Longhorns never looked back.

A balanced Basalt offense broke open a 1-all game with six runs in the third and tacked on two or more in the next three innings. Pitcher Brittany Driscoll struck out 10, and the Longhorns cruised to a 16-6 victory over Grand Junction’s junior varsity in a game shortened to six innings because of the mercy rule.

“The best thing about tonight is that the girls hit very well up and down the lineup,” Basalt head coach Bruce Matherly said. “Their pitching wasn’t slow or fast; it was in between. It took awhile to kind of time it. When we did, we had a lot of success.”

Catcher Maddie Nieslanik hit two doubles and one triple for Basalt, which now is 6-4.

Morgan Young and Shelley Briscoe led off the bottom of the third with walks, and then Jordan DeCrow and Driscoll hit back-to-back doubles to spark a six-run outburst.

The lead ballooned to eight in the fourth, both teams scored four runs in the fifth, and then the Longhorns closed out the game with three in the sixth.

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“The girls really hit the ball hard. There were quite a few extra-base hits,” Matherly said. “Junction’s JV is a decent team. They were good competition for us, a good tuneup. We’re hoping to be dialed in for Saturday.”

Basalt hosts a doubleheader with Cedaredge on Saturday. The first pitch is slated for 11 a.m.

Aspen volleyball coach Clay Dahlman said he saw moments of excellence this past week, moments when his Skiers played their best volleyball of the season.

Unfortunately, his squad has nothing to show for it. Two nights after being overmatched in a 3-0 sweep at home against Roaring Fork, Aspen suffered the same result Thursday at Coal Ridge. The Skiers (3-9) hung tough for stretches, but unforced errors cost them dearly in a 25-19, 25-14, 25-9 loss.

“Despite the results, we played pretty well against two formidable opponents,” Dahlman said. “We were hanging tight at first (Thursday), but then we lost a string of several points. They brought some tough serves that took our players out of rhythm and off our game. It was hard to recover.”

Aspen shared the lead with the Titans (8-2) early in a tight first game, but it faltered down the stretch. The Skiers struggled to keep pace in Game 2 and were routed in Game 3.

“I call that third game a little bit of a serve-reception meltdown,” Dahlman said. “We’re pretty efficient when we stay ‘in system,’ but the girls had trouble creating.”

Aspen now has lost four straight. It next takes the court Sept. 29 at Grand Valley.

“That inconsistency is something we hope we can iron out next week,” Dahlman said. “Next week will be our first with five full practices in a row. We definitely have some things to iron out.”

Grand Valley’s softball team polished off a season sweep of Aspen on Thursday, erupting for nine runs in the third inning of a 21-8 road win over the Skiers.

Haley Johnson had a pair of triples and Ashley Radel tripled to pace Grand Valley, which improved to 2-9 overall and to 2-3 in the 3A Western Slope.

Aspen dropped to 0-7.

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