Skiers outsmart Steamboat Springs
Entering the third inning of Thursday’s game against Steamboat Springs, Aspen had managed to squeeze out just one hit. Meanwhile, the visiting Sailors had roped six hits off Aspen pitcher Brittney Britt.Here’s the weird part: At that juncture of the game, the Skiers held a comfortable 6-1 lead over a Sailors team with only eight players.The Skiers (5-7, 3-4) didn’t necessarily need hits to 10-run the Sailors in five innings Thursday – winning by the tally of 12-2. The Aspen lineup needed only to exploit errant Steamboat Springs starter Christa Fielding to get on base. From there, smart base running coupled with a number of Steamboat errors led to easy runs. “We took advantage of their mistakes and we hit when we had to,” said Aspen coach Ed Zane, whose team has won three out of its last four games. “We’re up. We’re definitely feeling up and I hope we can carry this momentum into the tournament this weekend in Rifle. It would be nice to win. I think we have three games. That would be really nice to come home with at least two wins.”
Aspen’s final run of the game came courtesy of senior catcher Carly Magill. That, and a Steamboat Springs error. Magill smacked a ball to deep center field, then stood and watched as Sailors’ center fielder Lee Theilen dropped the fly ball, allowing Reagan Mahaffey to trot home from third. Magill finished with the best offensive line of the game, racking up two hits in three at-bats with three runs batted in and two stolen bases. She was also at the plate when four Skiers runs were scored on passed balls. On defense, Magill threw out two Steamboat Springs runners. The rest of the Aspen defense was also sharp, halting possible Sailors rallies by making routine catches in the outfield and snagging ground balls in the infield. Britt didn’t walk a batter in the complete-game win, striking out three and giving up eight hits in five innings.”We were definitely smart on the bases, but we were also real good on defense,” Magill said. “I think that helped us a lot. We hardly had any errors. Usually we don’t make the easy plays and in this game we did.”
Aspen got off to a fast start in the bottom of the first. Taylor Schlepp scored on a passed ball after drawing a walk to get on base. Magill then brought home Mahaffey by hitting a dribbler down the first base line. Magill beat out the throw to first while Mahaffey charged from third. Magill then scored the final run of the inning when she stole third on a delayed steal, then rounded the corner for home when Fielding made a bad throw over the Sailors’ third baseman’s head that landed in shallow left field.The Sailors got one run in the top of the second, but the Skiers came back with another three in the bottom frame. Third baseman Ashley Ryan was batted in by Tracy Clapper, and Schlepp and Mahaffey both scored on passed balls. With Magill and Grace Siegle on third and second base, respectively, Aspen threatened to add more runs, but Britt struck out to end the inning.In the bottom of the third, Aspen got two more runs from Clapper and Sara Nininger to take an 8-1 lead. Siegle added a run for the Skiers in the fourth.
The Sailors got their final run of the game in the top half of the fifth to trim Aspen’s lead to 9-2. Then the Skiers scored the final three runs to finish the game. In the final half-inning, Clapper got a base hit off a blooper to shallow center, then was brought home by Mahaffey. Schlepp scored on a passed ball when Magill was up to bat, which was followed by Magill’s hit to center, which brought home Mahaffey.The victory followed up a dramatic win over rival Basalt on Tuesday. The Skiers rallied from being down 5-1 after two innings to win in the bottom half of the seventh, 6-5. “When we don’t walk batters and the defense makes plays, we’re a good team,” Zane said. “They did everything they were supposed to do today. I’m happy to get this one. I’m proud of them.”Nate Peterson’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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