Bears boast all-league middle infield |

Bears boast all-league middle infield

Jeff Caspersen
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Jeff Caspersen Post Independent

Cortney Cordova and Emma Speer paired up to form quite the middle infield for Rifle’s softball team. Coaches in the 3A Western Slope League certainly took notice.

Cordova, a senior second baseman, and Speer, a freshman shortstop, were both named to the all-league first team.

Cordova batted at a .408 clip, hitting five doubles, four triples and 11 RBIs. She had a team-high 92.3 fielding percentage and committed just four errors all season.

Speer hit .393 with five doubles, two triples and seven RBIs. At the tough shortstop position, she posted a fielding percentage of 75.4.

The Bears, who went 8-12 and made the state tournament after dropping to Class 3A this school year, also had three players land all-league honorable mentions – freshman first baseman Allie Ehlers, senior third baseman Vanessa Herrera and right fielder Shantel Leyba.

“The skills and consistency from these players helped our team to continue to build and work for their goals, which took us to state,” Rifle head coach Cindy Skinner said.

Atop her all-league honors, Cordova will also represent the Bears at the May 2011 Western Slope All-Star Game in Grand Junction.

Shawnee Young’s a softball veteran. Brooke Ward’s a relative newcomer to the diamond.

Both Grand Valley players were named to the All-3A WSL first team.

Young, a pitcher, contributed mightily in the Cardinals’ first year of varsity play. The senior played for Rifle before Grand Valley launched its program.

“Shawnee was definitely one of the leaders of our team,” Cardinals head coach Brooke Whitman said. “She constantly pushed the girls to be their best and really was a major part of the foundation of our team. I love to coach her and watch her play because she has such a love for the game and refuses to fail under pressure. Without her, I don’t know how we would have even got our team started last year.”

Ward, a senior third baseman, only began playing softball last year, when Grand Valley fielded just a junior varsity team. Regardless, she played an impact role for the new program.

“This was Brooke’s first year as a varsity softball player and only her second year of ever even playing softball,” Whitman said. “She is just a natural athlete. Her skill level was unbelievable and she would make things happen in games and get her team rallying even when they felt defeated. [She’s] definitely my powerhouse hitter.”

Ward and senior first baseman Kendra Hill were also selected for the Western Slope All-Star Game.

“Even though Kendra didn’t receive all-conference, she still earned a position on the All-Star team and that was one of her goals for the season,” Whitman said. “Unfortunately, we ended up at the bottom of the pack for the season and were able to nominate two players for recognition as far as team honors, but Kendra definitely shined throughout the year as well.

“She can switch-hit, which is such an incredible talent and asset for the team. Kendra is my girl that plays with all her heart.”

Glenwood Springs student Kenzie Kuhn, who plays softball for Basalt, made the All-3A WSL first team. The senior catcher hit .353 and drove in 20 runs for the Longhorns, who went 14-6 and qualified for the state tournament.

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