Basalt softball struggles at Grand Junction tourney
Three losses, three completely different games. That’s how Basalt softball coach Bruce Matherly summed up his team’s showing at the ten-team Peach Fuzz Invitational in Grand Junction over the weekend.The Longhorns were on the wrong end of a no-hitter on Friday against 4A Palisade in an 11-1 loss. On Saturday morning, Basalt nearly knocked off 5A Durango before a few costly errors sealed the 9-8 win for the Demons. The last loss – a 25-4 whitewashing by 4A Cortez – was a complete disaster, Matherly said.”We’ve got a lot of work to do,” the Longhorns coach said. “We hope the tough nonleague schedule makes us better by the time we hit league play on [Sept.] 16th.”Palisade’s senior pitcher struck out 12 Basalt batters on Friday, six of them on called third strikes. Basalt starter Lisa Warnecke threw four innings and gave up eight hits while striking out four before giving way to freshman Alexa Aitken. Aitken pitched a scoreless fifth that included one strikeout.”Their pitcher was just really dialed in,” Matherly said. “She’s one of the main reasons Palisade is picked to win the 4A Western Slope title this year.”Saturday’s loss was a tough one, Matherly said, just because the 3A Longhorns had the Demons – who hail from a school with an enrollment more than three times that of Basalt’s – on the ropes.The Longhorns led as late as the fifth inning, and outhit the Demons 7-5, but gave away the game with a few costly errors.Aitken threw a complete game, striking out five and giving up four walks. Warnecke had a single and a double, Jennifer Barton had two singles and Katy Mulcahy cranked out a double.Matherly described the final game as a “nightmare.” Combined, Warnecke and Aitken gave up 14 walks – all of which were converted to runs. Basalt had six hits to Cortez’ nine.”It seemed like we had more errors than routine plays made,” Matherly said. “It was an embarrassment.” If there is a silver lining, it’s that Basalt’s young team got to play three schools in a higher division, with none of the losses counting in the league standings.The Longhorns host Rifle on Tuesday at 4 p.m., before heading off to the Eagle Valley invite on Friday and Saturday.
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