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Swing away

The prep baseball season on the Western Slope sometimes seems to start in the middle of winter. Games are snowed out as often as they are rained out, and, just when the weather starts feeling like “baseball,” the season ends.The 4A Western Slope’s top players will get some extra plate appearances this year with the 4A Western Slope All-Star Game on Tuesday at Deerfield Park in Rifle.”It gives us a chance to recognize the kids who had a great year,” said Rifle head coach Troy Phillips, who proposed the idea at the league meeting this year.Phillips also pointed out that it’s the last chance for seniors, who no longer get the opportunity to play in the Senior Showcase on the Front Range. All the 4A WSL first-team and honorable-mention players were invited to the participate in the game, and the two teams will be coached by Delta coach Steve Reiher and Phillips, whose teams finished first and second in the league.The teams will be broken up according to league finish with players from Delta (first place in league), Palisade (fourth), Glenwood Springs (fifth) and Battle Mountain (eighth) taking on the players from Rifle (second), Moffat County (third) Steamboat Springs (sixth) and Eagle Valley (seventh).All six of Rifle’s all-league selections – Bryce Enewold, Matt Jones, Adam Krick, Brandon Leuallen, Eli Snead and Uriel Quezada – are expected to play.Glenwood all-leaguers Beau Chicoine and Taylor Wilde are also expected to play. John Faris had another commitment, according to Phillips.While Phillips would love to see some college coaches come scout the league’s top talent, he sees the game as more of a fun little bonus for the players than a competitive event.Rather than the typical nine batters, Phillips said he will roll through the entire roster so each player gets the same number of at bats and rotate everyone into the field.”I plan to tell the kids that they have a green light and can do whatever they want,” said Phillips, who guaranteed he wasn’t going to ask anyone to lay down a sacrifice bunt. “It’s a chance for (the players) to play on the same team and get to know (each other) on a different level or in a different way.”And if it works out well this season, Phillips would love to see the game become an annual event for the league.”Hopefully (the players) will enjoy it and we’ll be able to continue to do this each year,” he said.The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.


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