CARBONDALE, Colorado - Focusing on playing a ranked Basalt High School baseball team was a pretty tough thing to do for the Roaring Fork Rams on Thursday.
On Thursday, much of the student body at Roaring Fork attended the funeral of classmate Jennifer Nevarez, who was one of three people killed in a car accident early Sunday morning in Glenwood Canyon. And just a few hours later, the Rams were on the field hosting the Longhorns, who went on to post a 15-2 victory.
Granted, Basalt (10-1 overall, 10-0 in 3A Western Slope League play) has proven to be one of the state's most improved teams. They broke the game open with a four-run fourth inning and a five-run fifth, keeping the Rams (2-10, 0-7) winless in league play.
But there were plenty of wandering minds in the dugout and on the field for Roaring Fork - and plenty of reminders of what happened that day.
"Our kids go to a funeral, and then we have to go play a baseball game," Roaring Fork coach Marty Madsen said. "That's the good and bad thing. Playing a baseball game gives you time to release and forget about all of those things.
"But when you're dealing with 16- and 17-year-old boys," Madsen continued, "that's not always the case."
One of the reminders came from Oscar Olivas, who went the distance on the mound for the Rams. He wore a pink undershirt during the game in remembrance of Nevarez, as pink was her favorite color, Madsen said.
Nevarez, 16, was one of two passengers in the back seat of the 2006 Audi driven by 17-year-old Brianda Zavala of Glenwood Springs. The accident happened at 5:30 a.m. Sunday on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon about 13 miles east of Glenwood Springs when the car slammed head on into a King Soopers semi truck.
Nevarez and Zavala, along with the other passenger, 24-year-old Albino Ortiz-Monge of Gypsum, died at the scene.
Sam Morris finished 2-for-3 with a triple, and Johnny Nieslanik added a hit and an RBI for the Rams, who were limited to five hits against Basalt pitcher Spencer Glasener.
"This was tough," Madsen said. "But I told the guys after that game that we can either be a doormat from here on out, or we can fight to get back into this race. It's up to us."
Roaring Fork continues league play with a doubleheader at Gunnison on Saturday.
Right next door at Roaring Fork's soccer field, Roaring Fork's girls soccer team had a much easier time with its opponents as the Rams rolled to an 8-0 victory over Rangely.
Taylor Adams and Emily Fisher each had two goals and an assist, Nayeli Alfaro and Mia Wedemeyer both contributed one goal and one assist and Madison Handy and Natalie Olivas added goals for the Rams (5-1-1 overall, 2-1-0 Class 3A Western Slope League play). Also contributing were Shiloh Merriott and Georgia Ackerman, who each had an assist.
Roaring Fork returns to the field on Saturday when the Rams host Basalt.
PARACHUTE - Katie Johnson's second-half goal put Basalt's girls soccer team on top to stay, and Carina Capobianco's unassisted goal later in the half capped the scoring in the Longhorns' 2-0 victory over Grand Valley.
Capobianco assisted the goal scored by Johnson and Cira Mylott had 10 saves in goal for Basalt (3-3-1, 3-2-0). The loss ended a six-match win streak for Grand Valley (9-2-0, 5-2-0), which was held scoreless for the first time this season.