Even on a bad day, Bears win softball doubleheader
RIFLE – On a day where their defensive play was as inclement as the wind-charged weather at Deerfield Park, the Rifle Bears still managed a pair of softball wins over visiting Delta on Saturday.Exercising patience at the plate and overcoming 10 errors in the two games, Rifle rallied to a 4-3, extra-inning win in the opener and then slammed the Panthers 13-7 in the nightcap.”It’s really nice to know we played probably our worst two games of the year and still had enough to win,” said Rifle’s Alissa Skinner, who started and picked up the pitching win in the opener. Game 1 went down to the wire, with Delta hurler Mari Conger holding the Bears scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning. After a free-swinging start to the game, Rifle coach Cindy Skinner told her girls to be more selective.The advice paid off in a sixth-inning rally with the Bears trailing 2-0.Amber Odekirk worked a walk to lead off the inning, followed two batters later by a Chelsea Webb single to put runners on the corners with one out. Megan McWilliams knocked a sacrifice fly to right to make it 2-1 and Tamra Kaczmarek followed with a clutch, two-out single to square the score.”A lot of times we tend to get anxious at the plate,” Skinner said. “We talked about making good decisions at the plate and what can happen when we take care of it.”And that selectivity paid off a couple of innings later when, down 3-2, the Bears again rallied.Alissa Skinner ripped a leadoff double, and McWilliams managed a walk two at-bats later. Kaczmarek followed by dropping an RBI single into left-center field to bring home Skinner and tie the game, and set the stage for a dramatic eighth-inning finish.With one out, it all came down to Marissa Wilkins. She stepped into the batter’s box and rapped a high fly to center field. The ball, which probably would have been a sacrifice fly anyway, sailed over the head of Delta’s Miche Clements and rolled to the wall. When all was said and done, the winning run had crossed the plate, and Wilkins stood at second with a double.Skinner finished with a complete-game win in the pitching circle, allowing no earned runs on two hits while striking out eight.
Rifle made a considerably less dramatic go of it in the second game, rallying for seven runs on five walks, three hits and two Delta errors in the second inning to go up 7-0.Webb, McWilliams and Odekirk accounted for those three hits, each rapping RBI singles.The Bears tacked on four more runs in the sixth to go up 11-0, with two walks and four hits backing the charge. Webb had a key double in the frame, while Samantha Young chipped in an RBI single. Skinner and Tori Fazzi also threw in singles.Delta, the home team as far as the scoreboard was concerned in the nightcap, complicated matters to a degree with a four-run bottom of the sixth inning that included a two-run double from Stephanie Spor and a two-run home run to straightaway center field by Justin Holm.After Rifle tacked on two more runs in the seventh on an RBI double by McWilliams and a wild pitch, Delta rallied for three more in its half of the frame to make it interesting.But McWilliams, who got the starting nod at pitcher, and the Bear defense buckled down to secure the win. McWilliams had a big day at the plate as well, going 3-for-6 with three RBIs over the two games. Skinner wound up the day 4-for-8 with an RBI and three runs. Webb was 4-for-9 with an RBI, while Kaczmarek went 2-for-6 with three RBIs. The Bears upped their Class 4A Western Slope League record to 7-0 while improving to 14-4 overall, while Delta dropped to 2-4 in league and to 9-10 overall.
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