Skiers strike back
ASPEN Saturday, Aspen let its opponent dictate the pace of play. Monday, the Skiers took control.Aspen, two days removed from a deflating loss to rival Basalt, scored three first-half goals and cruised to the 4-0 win against Colorado Rocky Mountain School. “It was a disappointing loss Saturday – we deserved more out of that game,” Aspen interim coach Dave Francis said. “We wanted to come out today and put our authority on the game.”That command was apparent early. Aspen (4-3-1 overall, 3-1-1 3A Western Slope) wasted little time pelting CRMS goalkeeper Ross Mohsenin with shots from nearly every angle. The constant barrage produced a goal in the ninth minute from Italian exchange student Giovanni Negroni.Negroni, who, along with Robbie Franklin, sat out Saturday’s game because of red cards Sept. 15 against Paonia, converted the first of his two scores when he received a pass from Murphy Fyrwald in the center of the box, then fired the ball into the net.
The senior struck again with 16 minutes to play. Jesus Mesa lofted a throw-in into the box, Wiley Maple headed the ball, and Negroni was perfectly positioned to launch a shot past Mohsenin. Aspen, which misfired on multiple scoring chances from close range, pushed across a third goal in the 31st minute when Cole Green-Smith beat a defender and scored from 20 yards out. Minutes earlier, Green-Smith passed on a point-blank shot in favor of a pass to a teammate, prompting his coach to yell “Be more selfish.” “We’re still having trouble finding the back of the net,” Francis said. “If we put half of those chances away, it would put us in much better position. We need to be more clinical in the box.”Despite controlling the ball for the majority of the second half, the Skiers scored just once – they made it count. Mesa charged down the left side in the 57th minute, then looked to the middle. As he launched a crossing pass into the box, Logan Tierney charged to the back post. He launched himself head-first toward the goal and finished the acrobatic header. “It was good to get another win under our feet and to come out and dominate and have confidence,” Aspen’s Cody Baker said. “We’re working well together, and it’s getting there.”
The next week will determine just how far the reigning Slope champions have progressed. The Skiers are tentatively scheduled to play Roaring Fork on Wednesday in a makeup game, then hosts Vail Mountain on Saturday. A second clash against Basalt on Sept. 4 also looms. “We’re back on track, and we’re ready to go,” Baker said. “The next couple teams will have a tough fight trying to get through us.”Basalt softball routs Eagle ValleyBasalt opened play on its new field in style.Fueled by a one-hitter from Jamie Matherly, a five-hit, five-strikeout performance from Alexa Aitken and an offense that scored 30 runs in eight innings, the Longhorns rolled to two mercy-rule victories Saturday against Eagle Valley’s JV.
Matherly picked up six strikeouts and surrendered just one run in a 13-1 Game 1 victory that was called after four innings. Aitken (triple) and Kenzie Kuhn (groundout) drove in runs in the first, then Basalt broke the game open with four runs in the second and seven in the third. Aitken, Kuhn and Jessie Anderson each went 2-for-3 in the game. The Longhorns (6-7 overall, 0-2 3A Western Slope), playing on their new field at the high school, rode Aitken’s arm, some solid defense and another offensive outburst to win Game 2, 17-2. Second baseman Abbie King knocked down a hard hit groundball to her left and threw out a runner from her knees, then Matherly executed a perfect relay from shortstop to throw out a runner at home plate in the first inning.The offense took over from there. Basalt travels to play rival Aspen at 4 p.m. today. The Skiers rallied to win both games in Saturday’s doubleheader with league foe Cedaredge.Jon Maletz’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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Aspen Mountain opened for the season on Wednesday, a day earlier than originally planned. Top-to-bottom snowmaking, a solid recent storm and well-behaved guests made for a great experience despite all of the extra precautions.