Rifle baseball team catches a big break | PostIndependent.com

Rifle baseball team catches a big break

The Rifle Bears had a nice little surprise when the Class 4A baseball playoff seedings came out Thursday.The Bears got the No. 7 seed and home-field advantage for Saturday’s District 7 tournament.”Typically, the Western Slope hasn’t gotten a lot of breaks as far as seeding goes in just about any sport,” said Rifle head coach Troy Phillips, who admitted he was “a little bit” surprised with the seeding.Not that Rifle didn’t deserve it. The Bears were on the edge as far as getting a top-eight seed after they finished the regular season ranked ninth in Class 4A by RockyPreps with a record of 16-3.Still, this is the playoffs, and there are no easy draws. Rifle opens with Greeley West. The Spartans enter the tournament with a mark of 10-9, but the record is deceiving, according to Phillips.”They come out of the toughest conference in the state,” Phillips said of the Northern League Spartans. “Even though they’re 10-9, seven of those losses were by two runs or less.”And one of those losses came in the season finale against the No. 1 4A team in the state, Niwot, in an 8-7 decision on Tuesday.”We’ve just got to continue to do what we’ve been doing all season – throw strikes, challenge batters and let the defense do its job,” Phillips said.Pueblo Centennial (14-4) and Northridge match up in the other opening game at Deerfield Park at 12:30 p.m. No. 10-seed Pueblo Centennial knocked Rifle out of the postseason last year in the second round, 14-4 in six innings.The winners from the two early games advance to the championship game at 3 p.m. with the champion advancing to the eight-team double-elimination state tournament Friday.

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