Aspen High softball team enjoys the rebuild while chasing elusive win
AHS softball schedule
Tuesday vs. Cedaredge
Aug. 29 vs. Basalt
Aug. 31 vs. Rifle
Sept. 5 vs Meeker
Sept. 7 at Cedaredge
Sept. 8 at Eagle Valley
Sept. 19 at Rifle
Sept. 21 at Gunnison (DH)
Sept. 26 at Basalt
Sept. 30 at Montezuma-Cortez (DH)
Oct. 3 at Meeker (DH)
Oct. 5 vs. Delta (DH)
The losing streak might as well not exist. If anything, it’s another reason for the Aspen High School softball players to get a good laugh, all in good fun.
“We just kind of poke fun at it. We literally make fun of ourselves,” junior third baseman Livi Carr said. “It’s super tough not winning a lot. But we are so close and have fun all the time, so it doesn’t really matter to us.”
It’s been a while since the AHS softball team won a game. In fact, it’s been so long nobody seems quite sure when that last win happened. According to Max Preps, the last win came during the 2009 season, although there is no information for the 2010 or 2011 seasons.
The AHS softball program went away briefly around that time, and it is believed it hasn’t won since returning. Dave Fuentes is entering his third year as the team’s coach, where he is tasked with rebuilding the program, essentially from the ground up. The Skiers have yet to win a game in two years under Fuentes, who also coaches the AHS baseball team, but there is reason to believe they are getting close to breaking through.
“We’ve been steadily building on it. We have a really good core group of girls that are really dedicated to the team,” Fuentes said. “They started off as freshmen; some of them had never played. Some had played a lot. And they’ve all merged together into a really cohesive unit, which is fun to see. Hopefully this will be a good year for us to make all the pieces fit together.”
The Skiers were comprised entirely of underclassmen a year ago, instantly making them one of the most experienced teams this season. The 2017 roster is still devoid of seniors, but does currently have 10 juniors to work with. One undeniable fact about the team this season is how close it is.
“Every year we play, we just get closer and have a better team dynamic than the year before,” Carr said. “We just want to believe in ourselves, believe in our teammates, and believe in the team as a whole to propel us forward.”
AHS continues to struggle with numbers, but there also is pride with the players they have. In comparison, many other teams of this size, such as Basalt High School, draw players from multiple schools. The BHS softball team includes players from both Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.
But again, the players don’t seem to mind their small size. They don’t really seem bothered by anything, in fact. The team motto this season is “believe,” and there seems to be an unshakable belief from within. And that’s easy to have when winning isn’t a high priority, but having fun and enjoying every second on the field is.
“Usually we just have a lot of fun,” said junior pitcher and short stop Lexi Ferlisi. “We don’t win a lot of games, but we have fun and we’ll get better. We’ve gotten better over the past two years.”
Aspen opens its season on Tuesday with a 4 p.m. home game against Cedaredge at Upper Moore Field. Cedaredge, which received a single vote in the Class 3A preseason poll, has been a powerhouse the past four years, winning at least 13 games a season. The Bruins went 15-7 in 2016, losing in the first round of the state tournament.
Chances are Aspen’s long drought won’t come to an end in the season opener. And that’s OK, because this is a team built around having fun, and not winning championships — at least not yet.
“It’s not about winning and losing. It’s about these girls having a good time,” Fuentes said. “It’s been a fun three years, and it’s good to see the program starting to take hold a little bit. I’m excited to see what the season brings.”
With a decision on the host city for the 2030 Winter Olympics, and potentially the 2034 Games, being made in the next year, Park City will have plenty of opportunities to remind the international sports community of its importance.
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