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Spring action heats up for Aspen preps

Aspen Times Staff Report

With the Aspen High School spring sports teams finally free of the post-spring break doldrums, action is set to heat up in the Western Slope League.

There is a full slate of games and meets on tap for the rest of this week in baseball soccer, tennis and track. And there are a handful of teams looking to turn their seasons around and find out how good they can be as the spring rolls on. Baseball The Aspen Skiers of coach Rick Ryan have had an up-and-down start to the 2000 campaign, winning the season opener 23-3 over DeBeque only to hit a losing skid in the past weeks.

In last week’s action, which included the Skiers’ first two league games, the Skiers dropped a 15-7 decision to Eagle Valley before losing 11-3 to Battle Mountain after being tied 2-2 with the Huskies in the fifth inning.

“We had it, but we kind of fell apart,” said Ryan. “We’re in every game.”

The two losses started Aspen off 0-2 in the 3A WSL standings leading into last Saturday’s non-league game at Roaring Fork.

The Rams prevailed in a taut 10-9 affair that saw Ryan ejected for arguing a questionable call, but the game gave the Skiers confidence heading into what could be a pivotal week for them.

“We’ve got six games coming up that we think we can win,” said Ryan.

The stretch began last night in Eagle with the Skiers taking on Soroco, a 2A school from Routt County, in a doubleheader.

Aspen will follow that up with a non-league game Thursday afternoon versus winless arch-rival Basalt in El Jebel at 4 p.m.

“The kids love that game,” said Ryan.

Finally, on Saturday, April 15, the Skiers will travel to Meeker for a league doubleheader againbst the Cowboys.

“I think we can take Soroco, Basalt and Meeker and turn this thing around,” said Ryan.

“We’re way better than last year. We just need to get some confidence.” Tennis The Aspen girls tennis team finished sixth out of 14 teams at last weekend’s Western Slope Open, a major tournament in Grand Junction.

Tennis powerhouse Cherry Creek won all seven finals (three singles, four doubles) to take the team title, but Aspen’s Laura Gordon very nearly pulled out a win in the No. 1 singles final.

Gordon, a sophomore at Aspen High School who attends Chris Evert Tennis Academy in Florida and does her schoolwork by correspondence and the Internet, battled Cherry Creek’s Alicia Salas in a two-and-a-half-hour thriller before Salas prevailed 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (9-7).

The outcome may have been different if equipment troubles hadn’t cropped up.

Gordon was up 5-3 in the third set when she broke a second set of racquet strings and was forced to use a teammate’s racquet. Salas came back to force a tiebreaker, but once again Gordon went up, this time 7-6 in the tiebreaker.

Once again, however, Gordon broke some strings.

None of the other Aspen players had the same style of racquet as Gordon, so this time she had to borrow one from one of Salas’ teammates.

But Salas still came through with the 9-7 tiebreaker win to take the match.

“I don’t think there’s a doubt I could have beat her,” said Gordon.

“It was probably the only time we’ll play, but you can’t take anything away from her. She played great.”

Next up for the Aspen girls will be a meet in Glenwood versus the Demons today at 4 p.m.

They will return home on Friday, April 14, when they will play host to Grand Junction Central in a 1 p.m. meet. Track and Field Aspen senior Jon Severy was the only double winner in track events at the Palisade Invitational held last weekend at Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction.

Severy, the defending 3A state champ at 1600 and 3200 meters, took the gold in both of those events as he continued his comeback from an illness that cost him the state cross country title last fall.

He ran 4:28.60 to win the 1600 by eight seconds and then put up a time of 9:41.88 to take the 3200 by nearly a minute. Soccer After an early season campaign hampered by the absences of some key players, many of whom were involved in postseason basketball and hockey exploits, the Aspen High School girls soccer team righted the ship with a 5-0 win over Colorado Rocky Mountain School last Saturday in the Skiers’ WSL season opener.

Aspen, 2-3 on the season, traveled to Eagle/Vail yesterday afternoon for a league tilt with the 2-5-2 Battle Mountain Huskies.

The Skiers will play again on Thursday, April 13, when they hit the road again for a clash with the 4A Steamboat Sailors.

This coming weekend, Aspen will take on Front Range powerhouse Alexander Dawson in Aspen at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 15, before beginning the heart of the 3A WSL campaign.

“”It’ll be a good week for us to see how we stack up against other teams in the state,” said Aspen coach Kris Hattrup.


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