Middle Park High School girls softball team kicks off season with three wins | SkyHiNews.com

Middle Park High School girls softball team kicks off season with three wins

by Will Bublitz
Sky-Hi Daily News

After a winless season last year, Middle Park High’s girls softball team has rebounded to win three of its first five games of the 2008 season.

“We’ve gotten off to a good start,” said Coach Robbie Cheesman. “We’re already better then we were last season.”

Middle Park High’s softball team enters the 2008 season with a 15-player roster that includes:

Alex Gallegos, Becca Hugley, Emily Geberding, Jillian Yaklich, Kathryn Woodard, Katie Mattfield, Jamie Damon, Katelyn Anderson, Corrine Zimmerly, Lilah Clancy, Camille Clancy, Madelyn Clancy, Hannah Davidson, Kagen Boy and Katie Mulligan.

The Panther girls won their season-opening doubleheader against Aspen on Tuesday, Aug. 19. They won the first game by a close score of 7-6 and then polished off the second game by beating Aspen 16-12.

Cheesman admitted the team made some missteps in their first outing, such as pulling off the win in the first game only in the bottom of the seventh inning and then giving up 11 runs in a single inning during the second game.

“But overall, for their first games, our girls came out and did some good things,” he said. “Alex Gallegos played two very good games, and our three seniors Becca Hugley, Katelyn Anderson and Corrine Zimmerly displayed a lot of leadership.”

While the Panther girls had a good first outing, their second did not end as well.

Taking on league-leading Holy Family in a home game Thursday, Aug. 21, Middle Park was shut out 12-0.

“Our kids played very well except for the eight errors we had,” Cheesman said. “If you take those out, the score would have been 5-0. Holy Family is perenially very good, but our girls hung in there and did waht they were supposed to do.”

Jillian Yaklich and Katie Mattfield played outstandingly both in the outfield and at bat against Holy Family. They accounted for three of the five hits the Panther girls had in that game.

Recovering from that defeat, Middle Park took on Sheridan last Saturday, Aug. 23 in an away game and emerged the winner 14-3.

“We came out a little slow, but once we got the sleep out of our eyes, we really came alive,” Cheesman said. “Becca Hugley had a grand slam home run while Katie Mattfield hit a double and a triple. Our defense was led by Katie Mulligan, our pitcher, who had her best game so far. All 15 of our girls really came together and played well. They are beginning to realize what it feels like to win again.”

After playing such a good game, the Panthers then had a letdown. On Tuesday, Aug. 26, they traveled to Erie High School’s field where they lost 10-3 to Yuma.

“It was our worst game of the season,” Cheesman said. “Our defense fell apart, and as soon as that happened, our offense began to struggle. We put up a few runs, but it was not enough. All of Yuma’s runs were unearned.”

Cheesman said there were a “few bright spots” in the Panthers’ offense during the Yuma game. He praised Becca Hugley for going 3 for 4 as well as batting 2 of the team’s 3 RBIs. He also commended Corrine Zimmerly for scoring two runs and Alex Gallegos for going 2 for 3 at bat.

“We not that far off from where we need to be this season,” Cheesman said. “We’ll continue to work toward our goal of winning at least 10 games. I think we can do it. The girls are doing well adjusting to a brand new system after last season, but I think we’re putting the fun back into the game for them.”

Cheesman is returning as the team’s head coach after spending last year coaching the 5A division’s Coronado High School’s softball team in Colorado Springs. He was the Panthers’ head coach for four years previously.

“I’m happy to be back coaching in one of the better school district’s in the state,” he said. “I’m being joined this season by a new assistant coach, Richard Poliandro.”

Coach Cheesman also wants to let Panther softball fans know that at the team’s Sept. 11 home game against Denver Lutheran that it will be the team’s Breast Cancer Awareness Game. Middle Park players will be accepting donations and selling pink T-shirts with all proceeds going to the Susan Komen Foundation in its fight against the disease.

“We’d like everybody to show up and help us reach our goal of raising $1,000 to fight breast cancer,” Cheesman said.

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