Rifle begins defense of Slope softball title
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Though shy in numbers, Rifle softball is lacking in neither talent nor tradition.
The Bears have right around 21 players on their roster as their Friday season opener approaches. That’s not as many as they’re accustomed to, but the talent is there to sustain their dominance of the 4A Western Slope League.
Dominance no one really expected to see entering the 2008 season.
Rifle, seemingly in line for a rebuilding year after losing a sizable senior contingent from the previous year’s team, caught everyone by surprise when it coasted to a fourth straight conference title and went 16-6 overall.
With many of the players instrumental in sparking last fall’s shocking run back, Rifle could very well win a fifth straight crown in 2009.
Pitcher Alisha Rodebaugh, a student at Meeker High School who makes the lengthy trek to Rifle for practices and games, is bringing her microscopic earned-run average (0.95) and strikeout-per-inning talent back for her junior campaign.
Also back is her battery mate, catcher Dannan Dueitt, a Grand Valley High student.
“As far as the strength of the team, I think we’re good,” Rifle coach Cindy Skinner said. “We have a lot of returners – like our pitcher and catcher.”
Rodebaugh spent her summer playing club ball in Grand Junction and Dueitt attended several camps.
At the plate, Rodebaugh swings for a high average, as do returners Makayla Wilkins, Ciara Euler, Cortney Cordova and Kacey Caron. All but Caron, a senior, are juniors.
“We’re pretty junior heavy,” Skinner said.
That could mean six straight league titles by the time the Class of 2011 is done on the softball diamond.
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