Softball: Basalt overcomes odds, beats Meeker
Apparently, Basalt High School softball player Dani DeCrow had some doubts about doing what must be done for the Longhorns to win Thursday’s home opener against Meeker.
“On third base, she just barely got done telling me, ‘Coach, I can’t slide, I can’t slide,’” Basalt coach Marianne Gardner-Smith said. “And she slid.”
DeCrow, who attends Glenwood Springs High School, took advantage of a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning with the game tied. She bolted from third base and slid safely across home plate to give the Longhorns a come-from-behind 13-12 victory.
Basalt entered the final frame trailing 12-6.
“It’s fantastic,” Gardner-Smith said. “They played as a team. Good job, good job.”
Winning the game was particularly impressive considering Basalt played without junior Morgan Ash, the team’s only pure pitcher, as she is recovering from an arm strain suffered in Tuesday’s season-opening win against Delta.
Filling her role was the combination of junior Meg Nieslanik, a Roaring Fork student, and sophomore Afton Larsen of Glenwood Springs. Gardner-Smith considers them to be predominantly “emergency pitchers,” and they both stepped up and held their own long enough for the offense to strike late.
“When you bring your shortstop and your first baseman in to pitch and they do that well, all you can do is be happy for them,” Gardner-Smith said. “They did great.”
The teams played a fairly even game, each scoring a run in the first inning and four runs in the third inning before another four-run inning in the top of the seventh stretched Meeker’s lead to 12-6.
However, Meeker ran into its own pitching woes in the final inning, and Basalt was able to rip off a handful of singles and slowly the runs starting coming in, even with rainy weather threatening the finish.
With the game tied, bases loaded and two outs, DeCrow made her move on a wild pitch for Basalt’s seventh run of the inning, which was the game-winner.
“I figured if we could get one runner on, we would be OK. I didn’t figure we’d come back,” Gardner-Smith said. “That’s pretty big for us with no pitchers. That’s pretty big.”
The win gives Basalt a 2-0 start to the season. The Longhorns will host Aspen High School (0-1) on Tuesday, with Ash expected to play.
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Katelyn Maley could have led the charge from start to finish, but sometimes waiting to make your move is a better strategy. The Basalt High School junior did just that on Saturday when she won the Class 3A girls 800-meter race at the state meet at Jefferson County Stadium in Lakewood.