Bears walk their way to 4-3 league victory over Eagle Valley |

Bears walk their way to 4-3 league victory over Eagle Valley

RIFLE ” Trisha McDowell stood her ground in the batter’s box in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s league game with Eagle Valley, and her patience at the plate earned Rifle a 4-3 comeback win.

The victory puts the Bears at 3-1 in league play and 5-4 overall.

“I knew she couldn’t beat me. I knew I could beat her and win the game,” McDowell said of the bases-loaded, final at bat the Bears senior had against Eagle Valley pitcher Chelsea Lueders.

After dueling to a 1-1 count with the Devils starter, McDowell wisely laid off Lueders’ next three pitches for a game-winning walk, scoring teammate Sarah Brusig.

“We knew that we had to come out big, because this was a league game,” Brusig said. And the junior infielder provided a big moment with her rally-starting, leadoff single in the seventh.

“We stuck it out today,” Brusig said. “We needed a start like this to get our confidence up for the rest of the week.”

McDowell’s confidence was boosted after watching Brusig get her second hit off Lueders in the seventh inning. “When Sarah got that hit, it got her kind of flustered,” McDowell explained. “I saw that when I got up to bat.”

Rifle coach Troy Phillips said Brusig’s single was a key component to the rally.

“That base hit put pressure on them,” he said. “They know that our team scores a run, the game’s over. That’s a lot of pressure on a team. Then (Lueders walked several batters after that.

We were fortunate because Eagle Valley is a very, very good team,” Phillips said.

McDowell’s game-winner made up for an error back in the third inning when she muffed pitcher Alissa Skinner’s low throw to first which allowed Eagle Valley to maneuver themselves back from a 3-0 deficit.

The error extended the inning and Eagle Valley scored a play later to cut Rifle’s lead to 2-1.

The Devils added to Rifle’s misfortune when they knotted the game at 3-all in the fifth when Morgan Strakbend came in from third on an infield groundout.

Meanwhile, Rifle who had scored all three of its runs, to that point, in the first inning stopped hitting. Prior to McDowell’s heroics in the seventh, the Bears had a baserunner stalled at second base in separate innings.

Rifle has another tough league match facing them Thursday in Grand Junction against the defending league champion Palisade at the Kronkright Softball Complex.

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