Rifle downs Eagle Valley
RIFLE – As the last pitch slammed into Chelsea Webb’s glove, the remains of another Megan McWilliam’s strikeout, the Rifle Bears softball team defeated Eagle Valley and clinched its spot atop the Class 4A Western Slope League for the second consecutive season.Wednesday’s 10-1 victory gave the Bears a 7-1 Slope regular season finish, tying them with Palisade (7-1) as league champions. “It feels good,” said McWilliams, who threw five strikeouts, three of which came during the last three at bats in the seventh inning, in her complete game win. “Two years in a row.” With Palisade and Rifle sharing the same record and having split the season series against each other, the teams’ seedings in Saturday’s district tournament in Montrose will be decided by a coin toss.Heads or tails?The Colorado High School Activities Association will flip a coin today to see who gets a bye in the first round of the single-elimination, six-team tournament. The No. 1 seed will face the winner of the Montrose-Eagle Valley game and then have to win two games to be named district champion. The loser, will have to play Delta in the first round, and if it wins, then win two more to come out on top. The top two teams from the district will advance to the 4A state regionals.In order to get that far, the Bears will have to do what they have done all season.”They are going to have to stay disciplined in the box,” said Rifle head coach Cindy Skinner. “They have a really good handle on defense as far as what to do when they get the ball as long as they get those plays, it will help tremendously. Keeping their heads in the game and keeping that intensity level is going to be key.”On Wednesday, Rifle showed how good it is on defense, holding the Devils to one run. Eagle Valley scored when Janette Baker doubled in the third inning to score Miranda Hicks. Danielle Canvanagh, who was on first, tried to come around and score, but was thrown out at the plate on a relay from Alissa Skinner in left field to Sarah Brusig at shortstop to Webb at home.”They are solid. They are solid at every position,” said Eagle Valley head coach Bill Beasly. “We played 4A and 5A (teams) this season and they are as solid as any team we played. They’ve got a great coaching staff, they are very disciplined and you really can’t say enough about ’em.”The Bears also had a lot of help from McWilliams’ five hitter. McWilliams just as strong at the plate as she was from the mound, going 3-for-3 with a single, double and a triple while scoring two runs and driving in another two. Rifle third baseman Kendall Babler also scored two runs, one coming on an inside-the-park homer that sailed over the head of Eagle Valley’s left fielder.Vail, Colorado
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