Rebuilding? Who said rebuilding?
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
When Cindy Skinner told me before the season that her Rifle softball team would be undertaking a rebuilding year, I’m sure not even she knew it’d be perhaps the shortest process … ever.
In taking care of Delta on Tuesday, Skinner’s Bears clinched their fourth straight 4A Western Slope League title and extended their winning streak to nine games.
The 14-4 Bears are doing this despite losing a senior core that carried the program to great heights in recent years.
Rifle’s a genuine Slope powerhouse when it comes to softball, and it’s easy to see why.
The Bears’ game is rooted in the fundamentals, which is no surprise given Skinner’s presence and that of assistant coach Troy Phillips, who also oversees Rifle’s baseball program.
It’s the little things Rifle does well. It’s a team that doesn’t make a ton of mistakes, which is reflective of the coaches leading the way.
The Bears also do the big things well.
There’s Alisha Rodebaugh in the pitching circle, who’s averaged nearly a strikeout an inning while posting a 10-4 record. Her 1.05 earned-run average is equally impressive.
And she’s just a sophomore.
The defense behind Rodebaugh is solid, too.
At the plate, Rifle boasts eight hitters batting at a .300 clip or better.
Rodebaugh’s .596 average and 27 RBIs lead the way. Kelsey Pyle (.383, 26 RBIs) and Cortney Cordova (.396) aren’t far behind.
Rifle has parlayed the above ingredients into a regular season that will no doubt land the Bears a high seed in the upcoming state playoffs that begin with regional games on Oct. 11.
Who would have thought, after all that the program lost to graduation, that Rifle would be right back where it’s been in each of the past three years?
Contact Jeff Caspersen: 384-9123
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