Rifle drops 2 of 3 at regionals
GRAND JUNCTION, Colorado ” Rifle’s season ended Saturday as they dropped two of three games in the 3A softball regionals, failing to advance to the state playoffs for the second time in as many years.
It was a disappointing outcome for a team that was the top seed in their bracket region and one that had a very impressive regular season, one which exceeded all expectations.
Things began positively for the Bears as they won 12-8 over Montezuma-Cortez in the first game. Rifle had 10 runs on the board by the end of the fourth inning, opening up a big 7-1 lead at one point.
Courtney Cordova who was 2-for-4 in the game had a three-run homer in the first to get the Bears off and rolling early. Rifle’s catcher Dannan Dueitt finished 3-for-4 with four runs scored.
On the mound, Shawnee Young pitched the entire game for the Bears, allowing 10 hits while striking out seven.
With the win, Rifle advanced to face the Castleview Sabercats who had won four of their last five regular season games coming into regionals. The Sabercats were the No. 2 seed in the Region 2 bracket with a 16-3 regular season record.
The Sabercats from the Colorado Springs Metro League were simply too much for Rifle to handle as they fell 7-5. Castleview scored two runs in the seventh inning to pull out the win.
Rifle had six hits but struck out 12 times to Castleview’s starter Holly Englert. Young pitched for Rifle in her second consecutive outing with no more than an hour of rest in between. After pitching well in the first few innings of game one, Young started to get her pitches up in the zone from that point on.
After the loss, Rifle dropped down into the consolation bracket with a state playoff berth on the line against Delta in an elimination game.
Despite Rodebaugh on the mound and a recent win over the Delta squad, the Bears fell 6-5.
Delta scored four runs in the second inning to take a 4-0 lead and held on from there. Two Rifle pass balls and two errors enabled Delta to have the big inning. Rifle didn’t get the bats going until the sixth inning, where three hits and a hit batter generated three runs for them but it was too little too late.
Tiffany Schaaf shut Rifle down for the first five innings with just one baserunner reaching second.
“It’s really a building year that has been real positive,” Rifle head coach Cindy Skinner said of her team that finished 16-6 on the year.
“They’re good hitters and I think at the beginning they struggled with Shawnee because she kept the ball low,” she added in reference to Castle View. “And the third game we didn’t get started until the sixth inning and that was just too late. … We turned a seven inning game into a two inning one. If we would have started playing the game sooner it would’ve been different.”
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