Skiers soccer starts strong | AspenTimes.com

Skiers soccer starts strong

Nate Peterson

Aspen’s young soccer team gave two 4A schools a scare over the weekend, and routed another in its in own 3A classification at a season-opening tournament in Montrose.The Skiers opened their 2007 campaign with a hard-to-swallow 2-1 loss to 4A Cortez on Friday after giving up a last-minute goal in double overtime.Cortez’s game-winning shot came with the Skiers down a man after referees whistled Aspen’s Cody Baker for a hard foul and issued a red card.”It could’ve went either way,” said Aspen coach Junior Sutherland. “Both teams had a chance to end it in regulation, and it would have been a tie if [Cortez] hadn’t scored in the last minute.”The Skiers’ lone goal in regulation came from sophomore Jesus Mesa.Aspen faced off against perennial 4A power Montrose on Saturday morning, and again held its own in a 2-0 loss that Sutherland said was closer than the score indicated.The Skiers would have been down one in the second half if officials had not called off what appeared to be an Aspen goal, ruling that the ball went out of bounds before being shot.Aspen also had a number of other missed scoring chances, Sutherland said.”It was overall a good performance,” he said. “I thought [the goal] looked good, but it was hard to see from my angle.”Hungry for a win, the Skiers took their frustrations out on 3A Telluride in the afternoon, scoring three second-half goals in a 4-1 rout.Junior Robbie Franklin netted two of the goals and Logan Tierney added another.”It’s a whole new group of kids, so this weekend was a great way to get acquainted with them,” Sutherland said. “I was very pleased with the performance. I think they have a lot of heart, a lot of passion, and that they’re going to be just fine.”Aspen opens 3A Western Slope play at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Coal Ridge.Tough tests for Basalt softball in Grand JunctionBasalt’s young softball team struggled Friday night under the lights in its opening game at the Peach Fuzz Tournament in Grand Junction, committing 10 errors in a humbling 14-0 loss to 4A Palisade.”Jitters,” said coach Bruce Matherly. “There were too many errors, and we were also facing a top-notch pitcher. The girls just never really got comfortable.”Sophomore pitcher Alexa Aitken struck out six in the loss, but surrendered 10 hits.One positive was Basalt managing five hits off Palisade’s pitcher, who threw a no-hitter against the Longhorns last season.A night of sleep made a huge difference, as Basalt rebounded Saturday morning to rout 4A Steamboat Springs, 11-4.Freshman Jamie Matherly pitched a one-hitter and also helped herself out at the plate with a number of key hits.Freshmen Lane Calabro and Jessie Anderson and sophomore Abby King also drove in runs, and Basalt took advantage of a number of errant Steamboat Springs’ pitches with aggressive base-running.The game was tied at two after the second inning before Basalt knocked home two runs in the third, then exploded for seven more in the fourth. Steamboat Springs managed two more runs in the fifth.”The girls just ran real well on their catcher,” Matherly said. “Any kind of pitcher who struggles with control, you’re going to get some passed balls.”Basalt (2-3 overall) closed the tournament with its best performance of the season thus far, losing to 4A Cortez, 6-4.Matherly qualified the loss by noting that his team lost to the same school, 23-4, in three innings last fall.”Last year they crushed us,” he said. “I’ve never seen a team hit like they did. We had two girls that threw hard and they were pulling foul balls down the line over the left field fence.”Aitken pitched the entire five innings in the loss and was nearly perfect – striking out seven and scattering five hits. The lone mistake was a high fast ball in the third inning that Cortez’s third baseman swatted over the outfield fence for a two-run home run, wiping out Basalt’s early two-run lead.Basalt plays Palisade and Steamboat Springs again next weekend at the Eagle Valley Invite in Eagle, as well as Denver’s John F. Kennedy.Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is npeterson@aspentimes.com