Sweet revenge for Skiers | AspenTimes.com

Sweet revenge for Skiers

Nate PetersonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad The Aspen Times

BASALT Same two teams, completely different ballgame.After a demoralizing 13-0 home loss to rival Basalt on Sept. 11, Aspen players circled Tuesdays rematch at the Longhorns diamond as a chance for redemption.Now they can underline this in red ink: Aspen 4, Basalt 2.Skiers junior Liz Baty made sure Basalts runners wouldnt run wild on the basepaths as they did in the earlier rout, fanning eight hitters in a complete-game effort. Aspen, meanwhile, needed only one big inning at the plate three runs on seven hits in the top of the fifth to get the best of Basalt starter Alexa Aitken, who finished with six strikeouts.When Aspen catcher Marisa Dreher tagged out a sliding Connor Adams on a play at home for the games final out, the celebration for the Skiers officially was on.We came in with high hopes, and I believed in our team because we have a lot of good spirit on the team, said Aspen senior Hana Maclean, who went 2-for-4 and drove in two runs. We believed in each other.So amazing, added fellow senior Chelsey Hanle. It was just like last year where we lost at our home field, then we beat them. We just wanted to come out and do it again.This was eerily similar to last years series finale between the two rivals, when Aspen avenged an earlier 13-1 thumping with an 8-5 win.Basalt coach Bruce Matherly was gracious in defeat, saying the final result wasnt at all a case of his team looking past the Skiers (6-7 overall, 3-3 in District 7).The girls didnt take them for granted, but I think we ran into a red-hot pitcher, said Matherly, whose team fell to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in district play. Thats as well as Ive seen Liz pitch. She was dialed in. It turned out to be a pitchers duel and they got the better of us.Baty set the tone early, limiting Basalt to one run in the top of the first when she struck out Kenzie Kuhn to end the inning, stranding Jamie Matherly at third and Abby King at second. Matherly singled home Aitken, who reached on a double to left field, to score Basalts first run earlier in the inning.Baty struck out Jessie Anderson, Kira Selucky and Connor Adams in order in the bottom of the second, the first of four innings where she faced the minimum.Basalt threatened in the bottom of third when Matherly reached on a single to left, then stole second and third. Aspens Sierra McKenney made a running, one-handed catch in right field off a drive from Lane Calabro to end the inning, however.Another great defensive play squashed another Basalt threat in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs, Dreher who Basalt repeatedly ran on in its previous win gunned down Anderson attempting to steal third, with Claire Kornasiewicz applying the tag.Aitken allowed just one Aspen hit through four innings before the Skiers got to her in the fifth. Kerry Braisted led off with a single, followed by a single from Whitney Hubbell. Hanle reached on a fielders choice. Hanle and Hubbell both advanced on a wild pitch before Maclean knocked home Hubbell from third with another single. Baty then hit an RBI groundout to bring home Hanle from third before Dreher followed with a single to plate Maclean.Aitken induced a groundout from Kornasiewicz, then struck out McKenney, but the damage already was done.Aspen added an insurance run in the sixth when Maclean drove in Braisted with a scorching line drive up the middle that Aitken got her glove on but couldnt reel in.Baty made the lead stand up, striking out Anderson again to end the sixth to strand Abby King at third, then watching in the seventh when Dreher applied the tag at home on Adams who ran past a call to stop at third with two outs.That happens sometimes, Matherly said. She made a big turn, and the third-base coach was calling her back but she didnt hear it. She was following the ball, thinking she had a shot of making it home.Aitken gave Baty credit for coming back with a strong performance after getting roughed up in her previous outing against the Longhorns.We came out hard, but not hard enough, Aitken said. Its definitely not the best game that weve played. Our fielding was good, but you cant do anything if you dont get your bats going.Hubbell said the previous loss to Basalt had a silver lining because it brought the Skiers together during the course of the last two weeks. Aspen nearly knocked off District 7 leader Gunnison in the first game of Saturdays doubleheader.Today was really important, Hubbell said. These last few weeks weve just become more unified as a team. We had a lot of determination to get this today. We really worked hard together.The Longhorns next play Rifle at 11 a.m. Saturday, while Aspen hosts Eagle Valleys junior varsity for a doubleheader.npeterson@aspentimes.com

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