AHS softball comes up a run short | AspenTimes.com

AHS softball comes up a run short

It had all the makings of a monumental comeback: a big, early deficit; an unlikely “everyone hits” rally; and even the tying runner at second base with two outs in the bottom half of the final inning.

But in the end, the Aspen High girls softball team came up one run short, losing 10-9 to Delta on a golden Thursday afternoon at Aspen High.

Delta, a larger, Class 4A school, improved to 10-3, while Aspen dropped to 3-10 overall.

“Great game,” Aspen coach Ed Zane said after. “Delta traditionally beats up on us pretty badly, so for us to have the tying run in scoring position with a great hitter up, you can’t ask for more.

“They had great pitching, and we were still hitting the ball, making contact and getting on base,” Zane continued. “It shows you how far we’ve come.

Aspen allowed 10 runs in the first three innings, but senior pitcher Leandra Sivess settled into a rhythm in the fourth. Despite a torn, bleeding fingernail on her pitching thumb, Sivess retired Delta batters 1-2-3 in the fourth and 1-2-4 in the fifth to stop the bleeding, figuratively if not literally.

“We were snoozing in the first couple innings,” Zane said, “but they came back and played like a determined team. I was impressed.”

At the plate, Aspen began steadily reeling Delta back in by combining base hits with aggressive, heads-up base-running. Sophomore catcher Carly Magill tripled in the bottom of the fourth, with a drive over the Delta left fielder’s head, to knock in one run. Jenna Rosen singled in another run in an inning that saw every Aspen player get an at-bat and the deficit trimmed to a manageable 10-7.

In the top of the sixth, Sivess somehow managed to get out of the inning without allowing any runs, despite walking four batters, including three straight.

The unlikely escape scenario went like this: Sivess walked the first three batters to load the bases, then sent a passed ball by catcher Magill against the fourth hitter of the inning. Delta’s Chrissy Wolf attempted to score from third, but Magill gamely recovered the ball at the backstop and fired to Sivess, covering the plate, who applied the tag on Wolf for the first out. Sivess walked another batter to again load the bases, but the next batter then weakly lined out to first base, and Aspen’s first baseman doubled off the straying Delta runner to end the inning.

“That was bizarre, and lucky,” chuckled Zane.

In the bottom half of the sixth, with two out and nobody on, Sivess helped her own cause with a triple, then scored on a Delta passed ball to cut the margin to two, 10-8.

Sivess shut down Delta in the top half of the seventh, but Aspen’s first two hitters in their last at-bat were dispatched by Delta’s third, and hardest-throwing, pitcher of the day.

Shortstop Alex Bethel then drew a walk to keep Aspen alive, and Katie Hyman followed with a double past the first baseman. As Delta fired the ball around the infield to catch Bethel heading into third (safe), then Hyman pulling into second (safe), the ball got loose in the outfield, allowing Bethel to score and cut the lead to one.

Sivess came up next, with Hyman hugging second and two down, and ripped a line drive – unfortunately for the Skiers, it was directly at Delta’s slick-fielding second baseman. The infielder dove to stop the shot, then picked herself up before making the throw to first to end the game.

“It’s a tough one to lose, but we can take a lot from this game,” Zane said. “We played crisp defense in the field – Alex [Bethel], Leandra [Sivess], left fielder Ashley Ryan, all made huge plays for us – and we were relaxed yet aggressive at the plate. Hopefully, it’s the kind of game that will teach us to win other ones like it next time.”

On Saturday, the Skiers host Cedaredge for a doubleheader, starting at 9 and 11 a.m., at the AHS field. A JV Aspen-Cedaredge game will follow at 1 p.m.

[Tim Mutrie’s e-mail address is mutrie@aspentimes.com]

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