Simon Fraser far from simple
The 2004 version of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team has already proven itself to be among the elite of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. Tuesday, in the Mountain Lions' opening game at the Tucson (Ariz.) Games, they got to see how they stack up on a much larger stage.
While CU-Colorado Springs lost 8-0 to Simon Fraser, the Mountain Lions acquitted themselves nicely against a true softball powerhouse.
How good is Simon Fraser? The school for Burnaby, British Columbia, is the No. 1-ranked team in the NAIA and is considered by many in the softball community as the training ground for the Canadian Olympic team. The Clan's coach, Mike Renney, will be coaching Canada's entry in the 2004 Athens Olympics.
Simon Fraser was also coming off winning the UNLV Tournament a week ago, where the Clan beat Division I teams UNLV, Colorado State and Utah Valley State.
Add to that a freak injury to CU-Colorado Springs' top pitcher, Amber Colton, and Tuesday had all the ingredients for a blowout.
But for three innings, the Mountain Lions looked like they belonged.
Brenna Pool (7-4), who subbed at pitcher for Colton, battled Clan hitters. Despite allowing seven hits in the first three frames, Simon Fraser managed only a single run as Pool effectively changed speeds and location to keep the Clanâ€TMs batters from teeing off.
Offensively, Lindsey Shandera had two of the three hits that CU-Colorado Springs could muster off of Simon Fraser starter Erin Thomas (10-1).
The wheels came off for the Mountain Lions in the bottom of the fourth inning. First, a pickoff throw to second by catcher Crystal Krebs easily beat Simon Fraserâ€TMs Jess Nielson to the bag, but the umpire ruled that shortstop Jennifer Dykstra failed to make the tag. That disappointment was followed by a pair of hits that deflected off of CU-Colorado gloves, then an error by the normally reliable Shandera. By the time the inning ended, Simon Fraser had scored seven runs and the Mountain Lions were left with the same empty feeling with which they have left many opponents this season.
Colton returned to pitch in the second game of the day, and it is hoped that her injury will not keep her from playing on Wednesday, when CU-Colorado Springs faces Cal State-Bakersfield, which is ranked No. 5 in NCAA Division II. The games against Bakersfield are the most important the Mountain Lions will play in Tucson, and will go far in determining whether they are simply a very good RMAC team or much, much more.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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