Samantha Patterson found something Tuesday that's different than she's used to: Relaxation.
"I was definitely better than usual," said the Rifle High first baseman, whose 4-for-4 performance at the plate paced the Bears to a 13-4 home win against Delta. "I'm usually pretty tense at the plate. This was a pretty relaxing day."
Her outing at the plate helped the Bears (8-4-1 overall) cruise past the Panthers (5-5), who watched Rifle send 10 batters to the plate in the first inning during its five-run opening frame. In all, the Bears pounded out seven hits - four for extra bases - en route to the convincing victory.
"I'm liking this much better," longtime Rifle coach Cindy Skinner said. "We were making a lot of low swings and getting under the ball a lot in some of our other games. I was real pleased with the changes our players displayed today."
Patterson, who goes to school at Meeker High, also had three RBIs, two of which came on a two-run double that drove in Taylor Morris and Emily Neuroth to give the Bears an 8-3 lead in the second inning. Also coming through at the plate for Rifle was Emma Speer, who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles and four RBIs.
Patterson, however, likes the way her new approach at the plate is working.
"Usually I try to be so much better of a hitter when I'm up there, and I always end up getting caught up in that and hit bad," she said. "Today, I just focused on hitting the ball and nothing else."
Katlyn Davis finished 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for the Panthers, who also had seven hits. Her double in the second inning sparked a three-run inning for Delta, but the Panthers could come no closer.
Rifle continues its schedule on Friday at Montrose, then comes closer to home to face Grand Valley in Parachute at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Rifle boys golf team qualifies for state
The Montezuma-Cortez boys golf team won a tie-breaking playoff hole to claim the championship of the Class 4A Western Slope Regional Golf Championships at Conquistador Golf Club on Tuesday.
Both the Panthers and Bears finished with identical team scores of 226, but Cortez prevailed by a stroke on the lone playoff hole. Kyler Smith of Palisade earned medalist honors, finishing with a 2-under 70.
Rifle, with its second-place finish, automatically qualified as a team for the Class 4A State Championships, and was led by senior Triston Quigley, who finished three strokes with a team-best 73. Ty Caron had a 74 and Danny Bartels carded a 79, with Teig Hauer adding a 90.
The state tournament will be held Oct. 1 and 2 at Cobble Creek Golf Course in Montrose.
Battle Mountain cruises past
Rifle boys soccer team
EDWARDS - Battle Mountain scored early and often in its 9-3 Class 4A Western Slope League triumph over the Rifle boys soccer team, jumping to a 5-0 lead by half-time.
Marco Gutierrez scored both of his goals in the second half and Miguel Navarro also found the net for the Bears (2-3-0 overall, 1-3-0 league) in the final 40 minutes. Joe LyBarger scored three goals to pace the Huskies.
"We knew it was going to be a tough game going into it," Rifle coach Richard Carter said. "In the second half, we stepped up our game and played with some purpose. It was good to see how the guys kept their heads up."
Rifle continues league play Thursday when the Bears host Palisade.
Coal Ridge sweeps Rifle volleyball team
Abby Orgill, Katelyn Shanahan and Kimmie Rausin each had three kills for Rifle, but the Bears' overall record fell below .500 with a 25-11, 25-13, 25-17 loss to Coal Ridge on Tuesday night.
Sarah McCutchan had six assists, Annie Schmidt added two solo blocks and Leah Antonelli chipped in 12 digs for Rifle (4-5 overall), which had already doubled its win total from a year ago.
Grand Valley boys soccer team falls to Basalt
Basalt jumped to a seven-goal lead in the first half and never looked back on their way to a 13-3 victory over Grand Valley on Tuesday.
The Cardinals (1-7-0 overall, 0-3-0 in 3A Region 3 play) fell behind 8-1 in the first half and could not recover. Grand Valley continues league play Saturday when it hosts Coal Ridge.