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Bears start with dose of 5A play

Joelle MilholmGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson
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RIFLE – Playing its season opener against Class 5A Douglas County is a tough task, but on Friday, the 4A Bears gave the Huskies a run for their money.The Rifle softball team came up short however, falling 11-7 at Deerfield Complex. “This is the best team they’ve had,” said Douglas County head coach Brian Stebbins. “We’ve been coming up here for eight years and they have gotten better every year. It’s kinda been fun. I tell the girls, ‘It’s not a gimmie when we come over here anymore.'”Rifle smoothed out a few wrinkles after the first three innings, when it committed three errors and gave up six runs. Megan McWilliams also settled down on the mound, holding Douglas County scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings.

Rifle’s offense found itself in the fifth inning, when the Bears scored four runs to cut the Huskies’ lead to 6-4. Kelsey Pile opened the inning with a single, Tori Fazzi followed with a walk and then Alissa Skinner knocked a single to bring home Pile. Chelsea Webb then walked and McWilliams singled to load the bases for Tamara Kaczmarek. Kaczmarek blasted a double to left field to clear the bases for the Bears’ biggest hit of the game.”I was trying to calm down because I was really nervous,” Kaczmarek said of the at bat. “I had never really played varsity that much before. Then when I hit, I was like “whoa.”Before the double, Douglas County’s ace, Kelly Fisher, blew two high fastballs by Kaczmarek, a senior who played one game on Rifle’s varsity squad last year.

“I seem to get calmer after two strikes for some reason,” she said.The Bears added another run in the sixth when Amber Odekirk singled in a run and then scored two more in the seventh.Samantha Young dropped a single in center field to bring around Webb and McWilliams, who barely slid under a tag at home plate. Unfortunately for the Bears, they weren’t able to score any more, but they did finish the day with 10 hits.”They hit the ball well,” said Rifle head coach Cindy Skinner. “They came out swinging and they were consistent with their bats. Even if they got out, they were hitting consistently.”



McWilliams took the loss on the mound, giving up six runs, four of which were earned, five hits, four walks and striking out four in five innings of work. Skinner pitched the last two innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out one.The Bears committed five errors and had five unearned runs, but almost every player on the field was learning a new position.”Our first baseman, third and shortstop were new at their positions,” Coach Skinner said. “Our pitchers were learning shortstop and they used to play outfield, so our outfielders were new.”Rifle will head to Grand Junction today to play three scrimmages, which will give the shuffled players more practice and the opportunity to field more plays at their new spots.”I think we played pretty good,” Kaczmarek said. “We still need to work on some errors, but other than that, everything was A-OK.”


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