Rifle counting on punch at plate
RIFLE – Pitchers beware: After the bats have been in hibernation for the winter, the Bears have plenty of sock on their 2005 roster to frazzle any hurler’s nerves.That’s comforting to Rifle head coach Troy Phillips, who sees the Class 4A Western Slope League as a hitter’s paradise.”Usually, the league is a hitter’s league because of the altitude in Colorado,” he said.The Bears should fit in nicely. The heart of Rifle’s starting lineup features three returning all-league selections who hit .383 or better for last year’s 13-5 club. Eli Snead, the team batting-average and RBI leader, will settle in at one infield spot and could see some time on the mound this year. In 2004, Snead hit .455 and knocked in 23 runs.Still, the Bears’ strength may be their defense.”Our defensive infield is the best I’ve had since I’ve been here,” Phillips said.Last season, shortstop Adam Krick scored 20 runs, had 16 stolen bases and hit .433. He also set new school single-season defensive records for a shortstop in assists (52) and total chances (84).Catcher Bryce Enewold is another player with the credentials to have an outstanding year.After inheriting the starting role from one of the best catchers in recent school history, Scott Van Slyke, Enewold filled the void nicely.In 114 innings, Enewold set a new school mark for throwing out baserunners attempting to steal (.438), led the Bears in walks and had a .648 on-base percentage.Providing more offensive punch will be two all-WSL honorable mention selections from last year in Brandon Leuallen, a .419 hitter, and Matt Jones, who hit .375 and scored a team-high 22 runs.Leuallen is penciled in at second base and has the best win-loss record (3-1, 3.59 ERA) among Rifle’s returning pitchers. Jones will also see time on the infield. Krick, the Bears’ other possible starter, was 2-2 last year.”We don’t have anybody that’s overpowering,” said Phillips of his pitching staff. “But we have guys who will throw strikes and hit spots.”Other players Phillips is counting on include Josiah Youland, who spent most of 2004 nursing a broken hand, outfielder Tyson Thompson and senior Sean Melody, who hit .333 in limited action last year.Other players Phillips is counting on include Josiah Youland, who spent most of 2004 nursing a broken hand, outfielder Tyson Thompson and senior Sean Melody, who hit .333 in limited action last year.
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The Rifle and Glenwood Springs girls tangled on Tuesday night at Glenwood’s Chavez-Spencer Gymnasium in a 4A Western Slope League contest that carried major implications in the conference standings.