Rifle rolls over Montrose, 8-2
Assistant Sports Editor
RIFLE ” Rather than wait for things to happen, winning teams create opportunities.
Megan McWilliams worked her way out of a first-inning jam by challenging Montrose’s hitters. Then Rifle’s hitters took up the challenge for their pitcher by smacking 11 hits in an 8-2 drubbing of the Indians Monday at Deerfield Park.
Uneasy at the start after giving up a leadoff single, two walks and a couple of wild pitches, which scored a run, Bears head coach Troy Phillips called timeout and reminded McWilliams to take charge.
“When I went out to talk to her, I told (Megan) that no one was hitting you well, you just have to challenge them and get (the ball) in there,” Phillips said. “You saw what the results were when she started challenging them, she got outs.”
With the outs, zeros followed.
After finding her touch, McWilliams tossed five scoreless innings before allowing a harmless unearned run in the seventh.
By then Rifle’s batters pounded Indians pitcher Tisha Vickroy for 11 hits and eight runs while creating havoc for Montrose’s defense by continually putting the ball in play.
The Bears converted four of six Indian errors into runs.
Scoring twice on back-to-back Montrose infield errors after Sarah Brusig’s leadoff double in the bottom of the first, Rifle distanced themselves from their early 2-1 lead with a three-run rally in the fourth.
Amber Massey set the wheels in motion with a long double to left-center. Two outs later Phillips called on pinch-hitter Jessica Martinez for a spark, which the junior provided by whacking a Tisha Vickroy pitch past the Indians’ infield for a run.
The base hit made up for an earlier mistake in the at-bat, Martinez said.
“(Coach Phillips) told me to slap bunt the ball,” Martinez said. “I didn’t get it down.”
Katie Buchanan and Lindsey McCue-Locke continued the assault with RBI singles after Martinez’s hit to open a 5-2 lead.
Two innings later, Martinez provided the key hit of another Rifle three-run inning, with an inside-the-park home run.
“It wasn’t hard,” said Martinez of completing her trip around the base after stroking the ball past center fielder Brigette Belet, then beating her throw to the plate. “I was full of adrenaline.”
Despite racking up a 6-1 league record (14-4 overall). The Bears, with one regular-season game remaining at Eagle Valley Thursday, are unsure about where they sit heading into next week’s district tournament.
Heading into the final week of play, Rifle holds a three-game lead over second place Delta, which has a solo road game with Palisade and a home double-header against Eagle left on its schedule.
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