Speed fuels Eagle Valley softball
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Blending youth and experience can be a dangerous mix. Sometimes the gap in age can turn into feuds over playing time, the batting order or even what jersey to wear.
Not for the Eagle Valley softball team.
A combination of five returning starters and a host of underclassmen will make up the Devils’ roster. With only one week of practice under its belt, Coach Bill Beasley’s team is already playing as one.
“This is probably one of the better groups of girls as far as gelling and getting together as a team,” Beasley said. “It’s impressive to watch.
“That’s really important in fast-pitch. Knowing where your teammate is going to be at all times is key. You need to trust your teammate that she is going to be when you need her.”
One of those savvy veterans taking the field this year is pitcher Narcie Huffman. The senior is being counted on to provide Eagle Valley with a strong presence inside the pitcher’s circle.
“Narcie is a horse,” Beasley said. “She throw as many as innings as you want her too. She can throw several games and be fine.”
Huffman won’t be the only pitcher toeing the rubber for Eagle Valley. Alexis Ellsworth, Amanda Morgan, Nicole Harvey and Brooke Asmussen should all be ready when their number is called. The team won’t feature power pitchers this season, instead the Devils’ hurlers will throw strikes and rely on a strong defense behind them.
That’s where the returning starters should help. Kelsey Andrews will play both shortstop and left field. Kara Platt is ready to go at third base, and Rachel Landin will roam center field. When’s she isn’t pitching, Ellsworth will see time at both center field and third base.
The underclassmen won’t be immune from getting their jerseys dirty out in the field, too. Harvey looks to have the catcher spot locked up for Eagle Valley. Kayla Gagnan will likely play first base, and Morgan will take the field at second base.
Offensively, the Eagle Valley speedsters could put on a show this season. The team won’t be launching many balls over the fence, but opponents will still be frustrated by a feisty Devils offense. Eagle Valley plans to take advantage of its team speed by putting down bunts, slapping base hits and stealing at every opportunity.
Two of the menaces on the bases will be Elise Byron and Emily Kingston. Byron is one of the fastest players on the team, while Kingston’s hitting from the left side excites Beasley.
“Our strength is our speed,” Beasley said. “Our defense is going to be really solid. Hitting wise, we won’t have the power we had last year, but we’ll have the ability to put the ball in play.”
One thing Eagle Valley doesn’t have is time. The Devils started practice on Aug. 11 and their first game is Tuesday. That’s a quick turnaround for any team, especially one with as much youth as Eagle Valley.
“It’s tough not only mentally to get prepared, but for me to do positions,” Beasley said. “As far as being physically ready, we’re sore. We’ll put our best foot forward and see what we got.”
Eagle Valley opens its season with a trip to Montrose on Tuesday. The team won’t play at home until Sept. 5 at the Eagle Valley Invitational.
Sports writer Ian Smith can be reach at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.