Lights go out on Grand Valley’s softball rally
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PARACHUTE, Colorado – Grand Valley’s softball team eventually flipped the switch on its offense, but couldn’t turn on the lights when it needed them most.
In a game called after six innings due to darkness, Rifle held on for a 15-13 win at Callahan Ball Field Complex in Parachute on Thursday.
Umpires called the game just moments after the host Cardinals exploded for an eight-run sixth inning. The complex is equipped with lights. Grand Valley just doesn’t have access to them.
“It’s the city,” Cardinals coach Brooke Whitman lamented. “They refuse to help us out. They refuse to come and help us. It’s just one of those things. It cost us a league game, I think. It’s frustrating.”
After back-to-back scoreless frames, Whitman’s squad made plenty of contact in that sixth inning.
Run-scoring singles by Brooke Ward, Ashlynn Speakman and Kendra Hill helped the Grand Valley cause, as did a well-struck triple by Denie Noble that cleared the left fielder’s head and plated a run. Also fueling the rally were five Rifle errors.
“The way they ended it, I’m so proud of them,” Whitman said. “That’s how we need to play from start to finish. If they can put that together for districts, we’re going to be unstoppable, so I’m really proud of the way they played that last inning.”
Rifle didn’t lack for offense, either.
The Bears scratched out two runs in the first inning, three apiece in the third and fourth, one in the fifth and six in the sixth.
In its big sixth inning, Rifle got singles from Jenny Cross and Allie Ehlers, worked three walks and benefited from three Grand Valley errors.
Walks cost the Cardinals in a big way. The Bears’ patience at the plate produced 12 free passes.
“We were working on discipline at the plate,” Rifle coach Cindy Skinner said, “so that we weren’t swinging at balls we shouldn’t be swinging at and popping balls up. They did a nice job of adjusting to that.”
“We just pulled ourselves together and got our heads in the game,” Ehlers said. “We just started getting runs in.”
Ehlers went 2 for 5 with three RBIs at the plate. Cross was 2 for 4 with three runs driven in and Brittany Neuroth went 2 for 5 with two RBIs. Emma Speer also had a hit for the Bears, who improved to 7-9 overall and to 5-2 in the 3A Western Slope League.
Speakman led Grand Valley at the plate, going 3 for 4 with a RBI. Kendra Hill went 2 for 4 and Shawnee Young, Sidney Drinkhouse, Emily Marbas, Taylor Conrad, Noble and Ward all chipped in with a hit apiece for the Cardinals, now 3-11 overall and 1-5 in league.
Young and Drinkhouse, both seniors, played for Rifle earlier in their high school careers. Grand Valley only founded its softball program last school year. This is the Cardinals’ first season at the varsity level.
Young and Drinkhouse weren’t the only ex-Bears in the Grand Valley dugout. Whitman played for Skinner at Rifle back in her high school days.
“She was our shortstop,” Skinner said. “It’s wonderful. I love seeing the players we had back in the game.”
Next on the schedule for Skinner and the Bears is a Tuesday home date with Basalt at 4 p.m. The Cardinals will face Grand Junction’s junior varsity team in a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. on Saturday.
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