Aspen softball turns to district tourney |

Aspen softball turns to district tourney

The Aspen High girls softball team staged a come-from-behind win over Summit on the road last Thursday, 11-10, then stumbled at Middle Park, losing by the 10-run rule in their regular season finale.

With the league’s district tournament slated for Saturday in Gunnison, Aspen, at 4-4 in the Class 3A Western Slope League and 6-15 overall, stands in a three-way tie for second place in the league, along with Gunnison and Cedaredge. Unbeaten Eagle Valley leads the league.

Aspen will open the district tourney against Gunnison, and Aspen coach Ed Zane is confident in his team’s chances.

“If these guys go into it with a positive attitude and get right to business, I think we can take Gunnison,” Zane said. “This is the best team I’ve ever coached.”

Of the five teams in the district tourney, only one will advance to the regional tournament, one stop away from the 3A state tournament bracket.

“And Eagle’s very good,” Zane added. “They’re confident, they’ve had a great season, and they’ve got depth at pitching.”

Last week against Summit, Aspen fell to an early deficit, trailing 5-1 entering the fifth inning. But Aspen awoke from its slumber and scored seven runs in the top of the fifth to take the lead, then three more in the top of the seventh to shut the door on Summit.

In the big fifth, Cori Hach ignited the rally with a bunt single, and Alex Bethel and pitcher Leandra Sivess walked to load the bases. Catcher Carly Magill knocked in two runs with a single, and Kristin Walla followed up with another single to clear the bases. Third baseman Jenna Rosen then cleared the bases again with her first career homer.

Summit rallied back in the bottom half of the final inning, but the team was playing with only eight because an injury knocked the Summit catcher out of the game and there were no available subs on the bench. When the injured player’s turn to bat came up, Aspen was awarded an automatic out – and in this case, it was with two on and two out in the bottom of the seventh.

“Usually, we get the bad breaks,” Zane said. “This time, we got a lucky break, and a win’s a win.

“Summit took us lightly like they always do, so they had their subs in in the second inning,” the coach continued. “So when their catcher got hurt, they didn’t have anyone that could go into her spot in the batting order. A lot of people underestimate us, but we’ve definitely got a very talented infield.”

On Saturday at Middle Park, Aspen lost 16-6, with the 10-run rule invoked in the sixth inning.

“We came out flat and botched some plays because we had players out and players playing out of position, and we never got the bats going like we can,” Zane said.

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