Wednesday, September 15, 2004
When the members of the Steamboat Springs High School girls fast-pitch softball team take the field at Howelsen Hill today, they will be sporting an undefeated record.
Thanks to a thrilling 5-4 win over the Rifle junior varsity squad Tuesday in Rifle, the Sailors have started their inaugural season on the right foot.
Now the girls from Steamboat Springs will be looking to make it two in a row when they face Basalt at 3:30 p.m. today on Adams Field.
"Our players were definitely excited, and they played very well," coach Donna Ryan said of the first win. "These girls have picked up the game amazingly fast. When we first started practicing at the middle school, our players had no cleats, no balls and no bats -- nothing."
Ryan said many of the players who showed up had never played the game and that others had limited experience. But they've worked hard this fall and proved they were ready to play in Tuesday's extra-inning contest.
Steamboat jumped out to a 4-1 lead before allowing Rifle to make a late run to tie the game at 4. The game remained tied until the top of the ninth, when Steamboat's Jenna Hammerslag opened the inning with a lead-off single and set the stage for Steamboat's first win.
Kathleen Lyon hit a hard grounder in the infield. The Rifle fielder elected to take the out at first, allowing Hammerslag to advance to second on the play. Leigh Thielen hit another hard grounder that allowed Hammerslag to move to third base on another fielder's choice. Then with two outs and two strikes, a passed ball allowed the Steamboat runner to come home for the winning run.
Steamboat finished the game with five runs on five hits. The team also had four errors, including two in the seventh that allowed Rifle to tie the game.
Kirsten Ryan was solid on the mound, striking out 24 Rifle batters and allowing just four hits in nine innings of work. She had five walks. She also came through in the ninth inning with two runners on and no outs. The Steamboat pitcher struck two batters out and got a third to pop up to Sailors second baseman Christi Fielding to end the game.
Lyon, who was 2-for-4 with a triple in the game, led Steamboat's offensive efforts. Kelly Labor, Hammerslag and Ryan also had hits in the game.
Because girls fast-pitch softball was added to the high school's sports calendar so late in the summer, the team has had problems lining up games.
The team has scheduled games against Basalt this week and next and a rematch with the Rifle junior varsity team Oct. 7. The Sailors also will play in a tournament Oct. 2 in Rifle.
--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
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