Softball goes 2-1, wins bracket at tourney
CASTLE ROCK – One bad inning stood in the way of Eagle Valley sweeping its opponents on Saturday.Still, two wins and a loss were good enough to earn the Devils the silver division championship at the Douglas County Tournament.”The whole weekend was a total team effort,” said coach Bill Beasley. “I’m proud of what we did. We lost to the No. 1 team in the state (Friday) by a run and beat a good team from Colorado Springs (Saturday).”Saturday morning, the Saints fell, 9-1, to Douglas County. In the fourth inning, Eagle Valley’s defense imploded, committing three errors, and allowing Douglas County to score seven runs.”It was a close game without that inning,” said Beasley. “We just got frustrated and weren’t talking to each other.”Despite the lopsided score, Eagle Valley pitcher Elana Hernandez threw an excellent game, Beasley said. “Our defense wasn’t quite up to what it was on (Friday),” he said. “I knew they would hit (Elana), but I thought our defense would be there to back her up, and they weren’t.”A few hours later, the Devils were back on the field against Rampart, a 5A schoolfrom Colorado Springs. With Chelsey Lueders on the mound, the Devils came out hungry, and earned a convincing 7-4 win.
“They fought back right away,” Beasley said. “When you have a loss like that, you forget the inning and move on to the next game.” Emily LyBarger smacked a triple in the top of the first inning, and scored on a passed ball. In the third inning, the Saints added three runs when Amy Thompson hit a shot over the center fielder’s head. “The hit would have cleared the fence if there was one there,” Beasley said.On the defensive side of the ball, Eagle Valley returned to the form it displayed on Friday. Filling in for an ill Kayla Phillips was Miranda Hicks, who had never caught in a game before. “Miranda did a very good job,” Beasley said. “Emily had a lot of putouts in center field, Danielle Cavanaugh played great at second base, and Cassidy Warner played well at first.”At the plate, Thompson went 2-for-3, Warner went 2-for-2 with a sacrifice and Hernandez went 1-for-2.The win against Rampart put the Saints in the silver bracket finals against Pueblo East. For the forth time in two days, Lueders took the mound, and Eagle Valley pulled off a 2-1 victory in a defensive battle.After five scoreless innings, LyBarger got on base with a bunt single to lead off the bottom of the sixth. Lueders also bunted safely to set up Phillips with a chance to earn some RBI. Phillips responded with a deep shot to center that scored two runs.Things got dicey in the seventh when Pueblo loaded the bases with no outs, but a strikeout and two pop outs to Amy and Morgan Strakbein assured the victory.
“It was an exciting game,” Beasley said. “There was a lot of good defensive fielding.”With three wins against quality teams, Eagle Valley comes away pleased with the weekend performance. Beasley said that the defense was especially strong.”We were on top of the bunt every game,” Beasley said. “Only one person got on base on us using a bunt.”Next weekend the Saints will be at home, hosting their own tournament.Tough day for Vail Christian volleyballGLENWOOD SPRINGS – For a young team, gaining experience may not always translate into wins.The Saints continued tournament play Saturday, but did not have any wins to show for their efforts.In the first match of the day, Vail Christian fell to Roaring Fork 25-23 and 25-16. In the following two matches, Vail Christian squared off against Denver Christian and Denver Lutheran, losing 25-9, 25-15, and 25-19, 25-19, respectively.
All three opponents were 3A, whereas Vail Christian is 1A. Still, coach Cathy Alexander doesn’t think her team uses this as an excuse. “They will go in thinking they can win,” said Alexander. “But to their credit, they do they best they can do with what they have.”Vail Christian came out sharp against Roaring Fork, but couldn’t pull out the first game, and then faltered in the second game.”We played pretty well in the first match,” said Alexander. “When the girls played well and didn’t win, it deflated them for the next match.”During the Roaring Fork match, the Saints suffered another loss with an ankle injury oto Nicole Parker. Without Parker, the team switched to a 5-1 offense and relied on Britni Beagley for all the setting. The Saints had trouble all over the court against Denver Christian.”It was one of those struggles where the court seemed like the size of a football field,” Alexander said. “There were holes everywhere and we couldn’t get there to cover.”After the second game, Alexander changed the lineup again for the final match against Lutheran.”We subbed in a bunch of younger players, and we gelled a bit better in this match,” Alexander said.
The Saints led for most of the first game, but with the first game tied at 19, the Lights won the next three points. After a Saints sideout, they lost the next serve, and the Lights then closed out the game.Alexander was pleased with the play of Molly Brooks. Also, Alexander said Beagley put in a great effort as the sole setter. With Parker injured, however, the team had to change the speed of its attack.”We slowed down the offense and concentrated on defense for a while,” Alexander said. “This will either tire out the team on offense, or defense. Unfortunately, it wore us down a bit.”Alexander thought the team had trouble passing the ball on Saturday. In practice this week, the Saints will focus on consistent passing and moving at a faster pace.”The tempo, and offense to defense transition, is not a huge issue against the 1A schools we play, but to beat a bigger team, it’s important,” Alexander said.Sports writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608 or via firstname.lastname@example.orgVail, Colorado