Eagle Valley reloads with experience
GYPSUM – The Eagle Valley softball team spent a good 15 minutes warming up and stretching Thursday before practice. And for good reason.This year’s team is going to rely on its flexibility.”I think we’re going to be a well-rounded team,” said coach Bill Beasley. “We’re not going to be superb at one thing.”The athletic Devils won’t be counting on one or two players to keep the runs off the board, and they won’t be expecting the same players to pick up the runs every game.”We’re not hinging on one person,” Beasley said.Gone from last year are five seniors, four all-league selections and one all-state player. But Beasley isn’t worried.
“We have girls who can be leaders,” Beasley said. “As far as filling gaps on the field, (these girls) are every bit as good. Everyone has good attitudes, wants to learn, loves the game and is willing to work hard to make themselves better. That helps a bunch.”The Devils return several starters as well as a core group of girls who saw considerable playing time. Replacing last year’s pitching-catching tandem of Chelsey Lueders and Kayla Phillips will be Elana Hernandez and Miranda Hicks.”I have some big shoes to fill,” said Hernandez. “I practiced three or four days a week this summer. And Miranda has been practicing and getting a lot better.”Beasley is happy to have more depth on the mound this season, with several other pitchers ready to go.”(Narcissa Huffman) has come a long way this summer,” Beasley said. “Amy Thompson will throw some. And of the seven freshman, four of them throw.”Thompson didn’t pitch a ton last year, but she’s ready to step on the mound.”I could have done more pitching during the summer, but I’ll play wherever they need me,” Thompson said.Infield
Whoever is on the mound can count on a solid, experienced infield to back her up. With Hernandez on the mound and Hicks behind the plate, the rest of the infield will likely look as such: Thompson at first, Jeanette Baker at third, Danielle Cavanaugh at shortstop and Katie Jean Ewing at second.Nicole Wells will likely be in the outfield with a mix of different girls.”Whichever freshmen and sophomores step up will play,” Hicks said.Beasley thinks his flurry of younger players will make it easy for him to fill in the outfield and even the infield, if necessary.”I have a lot of girls who will be versatile in where they play and when they play,” Beasley said.Getting on baseThompson leads the way on offense as the team’s power hitter, along with the big bats of Baker and Cavanaugh and Shaylynn Nielson.Beasley hopes his team’s speed will provide a spark on offense, too.
“We have a lot of girls who are going to be really quick,” Beasley said. “We’ll be doing a lot of bunting, a lot of slapping, a lot of different things rather than relying on the base hit all the time.”And even though some of the upperclassmen didn’t play a ton of ball in the summer, they should be well-prepared for the action.”A lot of us spent time in the weight room this summer,” Ewing said.The Devils would like to pick up their fourth consecutive league title, but they aren’t setting specific goals just yet.”As the year goes on, it may start to look like (we can win league),” Thompson said.Today, Eagle Valley hosts Cedaredge for a scrimmage doubleheader.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado
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