Aspen boys down rival Rams |

Aspen boys down rival Rams

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

EL JEBEL ” After Roaring Fork tagged Aspen starter Taylor Mayer for three runs in the top of the first inning of Monday’s baseball game in El Jebel, Aspen players had to be thinking, “Here we go again.”

The Skiers were coming off a weekend trip to a Denver where they lost three times ” two by the mercy rule. In its opener against Machebeuf on Friday, Aspen surrendered 32 runs.

“It was a really, really tough weekend. It had some kids challenge the idea that baseball is not that fun,” Skiers head coach Nate Grinzinger said. “We needed a huge recovery.”

He got just that Monday. Aspen responded with five runs in the bottom of the first and, on the strength of 12 hits and a dominant relief appearance from Anderson Cole, pulled out an 8-3 win to remain unbeaten in 3A Western Slope play.

“The kids came out and played hard and with enthusiasm. They showed great character,” Grinzinger said. “This was huge for us. We needed it as a team, a coaching staff and a program. … I’m surprised with how well they stuck with it.”

The Skiers (2-3 overall, 2-0 conference) wasted little time mounting a rally. The first two batters reached in the bottom of the first, and advanced on a well-executed run and bunt from Cole. Mike Willsky dealt the big blow, driving in two with a double. Nick Belinski drove in Willsky with a double of his own to give Aspen a 5-3 advantage.

Mayer, making his first start of the season, settled down after a rocky first. He surrendered three runs on six hits and struck out six in five innings.

“He’s just a gamer,” Grinzinger said. “Taylor always comes to play and brings intensity. You can always count on him.”

Lamont Gross relieved Mayer after a Rams player reached to open the sixth and retired two straight batters. With his team leading, 5-3, and Roaring Fork cleanup hitter Jake Strack-Loertscher striding to the plate with a runner in scoring position, Grinzinger called on Cole.

The junior delivered, throwing three straight fastballs past the Rams’ catcher.

The Skiers tacked on three more runs in the sixth, then Cole sealed the win, striking out the side in the seventh. He threw a total of just 18 pitches.

“I give so much props to that kid,” Grinzinger said. “He comes in and looks like he hasn’t missed a day. … If we were a better team, we’d look at having him close more. … He’s just such a good pitcher that you almost can’t afford to start someone else.”

Cole, a member of Aspen’s hoops team that finished sixth in the state tournament this past weekend, had two hits, a run scored and an RBI. Chris Dreyer picked up two hits ” including his fifth double of the season ” and drove in three runs and Willsky added two RBIs.

Catcher Zack Maraziti, making his first appearance after missing time to train in Puerto Rico, picked up a single.

“He’s an outstanding defensive player and a leader on the field,” Grinzinger said. “It was nice to have everybody back and see what type of lineup we can have.”

The Skiers next take the field on Thursday for a doubleheader against 2008 conference-champion Cedaredge.

“The weekend was as tough as it gets,” Grinzinger said. “This was a big rebound, and something that was much needed.”

Shelby Butler fired a personal-best 100 to lead the Aspen girls golf team to a seventh-place finish in Monday’s season-opening tournament at Lincoln Park Golf course in Grand Junction.

Lauren Forney of Grand Junction Central took home medalist honors with a 78 ” five shots better than Grand Junction High School’s Jordan Fellhauer. Grand Junction Central (251) captured the team title, while Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction High School tied for second with 278 points. Aspen (317) finished one point behind Delta and Cedaredge, which shared sixth place.

“Quite frankly, I didn’t know where we were going to be,” Skiers head coach Alden Richards said. “For not even having any practice time, they did great. … I’m really pleased to see them come in seventh. They were ecstatic.”

Nicole Twohig shot 103 for the Skiers. Teammates Lauren Twohig and Marieta Bialak, both competing for the first time, finished with 114 and 123, respectively.

Two matches. Two resounding wins.

The Aspen girls tennis team dominated Cedaredge and Delta in Saturday’s doubleheader at the Maroon Creek Club, rolling to 7-0 victories in both matches. Senior Whitney Hubbell led the way, dropping just one game in two straight-set victories.

“These wins are indicative of the improving program for girls tennis at AHS,” head coach Scott Dorais said in a press release. “We have a team with good depth, and with the addition of a new senior, Grace Lodge, we will be able to keep this level of intensity and compete with some of the tougher teams …”

Lodge switched to No. 1 singles in the day’s second match and cruised to the 6-2 6-2 win against Delta. Hubbell, who dropped down to No. 2 after the win over Cedaredge, picked up the 6-0 6-0 win.

First doubles teammates Casey Altman and Mimi Rogers pulled out a tight 10-6 tie-breaking win, while seniors Rio Crandall and Hana MacLean won their respective doubles matches handily for the Skiers, who face Vail Mountain School on Thursday.

“It’s a great way to start the season,” Dorais said. “The girls have been working hard in practice and it really showed …”

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