LyBarger is all-state in softball
EAGLE-VAIL – If Emily LyBarger keeps earning accolades at her current rate, she’ll have nowhere to go by the time she’s a senior.LyBarger, a sophomore on this year’s Eagle Valley softball team, was recently named all-state by the Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post.Last year, LyBarger was all-league honorable mention, but this year she made the all-league first team in addition to being named one of three sophomores on the Rocky’s all-state team, as well as the only sophomore on the Post’s team.”I was really happy when I found out,” LyBarger said. “It also puts pressure on me because I want to keep it up and keep going further.”
The center fielder may need to rack up awards next year at another position, as coach Bill Beasley may want to put one of his best athletes at pitcher.”She can play any position,” Beasley said earlier this year. “She could get to any ball that was hit near her, and she got on base just about every time.”Regardless of where she plays, LyBarger welcomes the challenge.”I enjoy new positions,” LyBarger said. “I just like it wherever Coach puts me, and I’ll try my best.”And while LyBarger can play anywhere in the field, she can bat anywhere in the order. After starting out the year as the team’s leadoff hitter, LyBarger made the switch to the No. 2 hitter.
“I think the objective was to have someone on base and then we’d have two on base instead of just one,” LyBarger said.At the plate, LyBarger led the team with 40 hits and 38 runs. She reached base nearly seven out of 10 times she took to the plate.Once LyBarger got on the base, her speed made her just as dangerous. During the year, she stole 16 bases and was caught stealing only once.”She can fly,” Beasley said.
Long tripsFortunately for the Devils, Battle Mountain doesn’t have a softball team. LyBarger, who attends Battle Mountain, made the trip from Eagle-Vail down to Gypsum most days this fall.”It’s difficult to drive down and back, deal with homework and everything,” said LyBarger, who was joined by Lauren Prewitt to round out the Battle Mountain contingent on the Eagle Valley team.Fortunately for Battle Mountain, LyBarger plays for the Huskies in basketball and soccer. As a freshman last year, LyBarger was named first team all-league in soccer. “She’s been all-state in softball, all-league in soccer and now she’s running the show on the court,” said Battle Mountain girls soccer coach David Cope. “She plays skilled positions in every sport, too. When you are a leadoff hitter, a point guard or a midfielder, you are relied on to make things happen.”
It’s clear LyBarger doesn’t have a weak sport, despite not being able to practice all three sports year round.”I want to improve in all areas as much as possible,” LyBarger said. “My parents always tell me only to concentrate on the sport I’m playing.”As her distinctions can attest, she doesn’t seem to have any problem playing three sports.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado