Colbert’s Prep Playbook: Basalt softball looks dangerous as No. 2 seed at state
Basalt High School softball has long been a strong program. It’s more or less the Roaring Fork Valley’s all-star team, with players coming from Basalt, Roaring Fork and Glenwood Springs. But it’s time we recognize this year’s group as being something truly special.
On Monday, CHSAA announced the Class 3A state tournament bracket, where the Longhorns are the No. 2 overall seed in the 16-team field. BHS (22-1) will play No. 15 La Junta (14-11) in the first round of the single-elimination tournament at 12:15 p.m. Friday. All games are played at Aurora Sports Park.
This is Basalt’s first trip to the state tournament since 2016, when it lost 15-4 as the No. 12 seed to No. 5 seed Lamar. The Longhorns finally got their revenge over Lamar on Saturday when they beat the Savages in their regional championship game in Basalt. La Junta could be next on the revenge list, as the Tigers ended Basalt’s season in regional play last fall, 13-6.
Based purely off seeding, there is no reason to believe the Longhorns can’t make a run at the state championship. Should they beat La Junta, they would face the winner of No. 7 Sterling (17-7) and No. 10 Montezuma-Cortez (17-6) in the second round at 2:30 p.m. Friday. BHS swept Montezuma-Cortez in two games earlier this season.
Both state semifinal games are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, with the 3A championship game slated for 1:15 p.m. that same day. University (22-2), based out of Greeley, is the tournament’s No. 1 overall seed.
CROSS COUNTRY ALSO HEADS TO STATE
Also Saturday is the state cross country meet at the Norris-Penrose Event Center in Colorado Springs. Unfortunately, the races we care about here in the valley are basically at the same time as the softball games. The Class 3A girls race at 12:20 p.m. — aka the Sierra Bower show — while the 3A boys — we see you, Tucker Bruce — race at 1:40 p.m.
Bower, a Basalt junior, is coming off a regional championship on her home course over the weekend. She’ll contend for the state championship. I don’t want to go all out and say she will win, but she very well could. Both the BHS and Aspen girls could finish very high in the team standings. It should be an awesome race.
As noted, Basalt senior Tucker Bruce is the lone male to qualify for the state meet from either school.
CHECKING IN ON THE REST
Let’s start with football, which has a big contest Friday between No. 8 Basalt (6-1, 2-1 WSL) and No. 1 Rifle (7-0, 3-0 WSL) on the BHS field. Should the Bears win, you can call the Class 2A Western Slope League a wrap with only Moffat County left on their schedule. The Longhorns hope to provide some chaos and bounce back from a rough showing Friday when they lost 35-6 at Delta.
Aspen (3-4, 1-2 WSL) took its shot at Rifle on Friday and failed miserably, losing on the AHS turf. I think that’s mostly just Rifle being really good. Kind of have to tip your hat to coach Damon Wells and his Bears. Aspen heads to Coal Ridge (1-6, 0-3 WSL) this Friday in another must-win game.
Considering the strength of the league, AHS isn’t yet out of the playoff picture as it is No. 18 in RPI this week. But, they are on thin ice as only 16 teams make the postseason. Basalt is No. 7 in RPI, while Delta is No. 6 and Rifle No. 3. Moffat County is still up there at No. 13, while Coal Ridge remains a respectable No. 26 despite the record.
In boys soccer, Basalt (6-5-1) is holding on at No. 29 in RPI, which would put them in the postseason. The Longhorns finish out the regular season with two home games this week: Tuesday against Delta (11-3) and Thursday against Palisade (3-9-1).
Aspen soccer has virtually no chance to make the postseason, although the Skiers did get a nice win Monday night on senior night, beating Coal Ridge, 3-0. It was only the second win of the season for the now 2-11 team. AHS also has two games remaining, starting with a Thursday trip to Vail Mountain (7-6-1) and ending with a Saturday trip to Fruita Monument (7-6).
We still have two weeks left in the volleyball season. Aspen hosts Vail Mountain on Tuesday and travels to Grand Valley on Thursday, while Basalt hosts Rifle on Tuesday and travels to Gunnison on Thursday. Neither team has much of a chance to make it into regional play, although the Longhorns still have a chance to possibly finish the season above .500.
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AHS swept all three singles flights and split in doubles, the wins coming at 1 doubles and 3 doubles. The 2 doubles and 4 doubles teams were both runner-up at regionals.