UCCS Takes Two at Rebel Games
KISSIMMEE, Fla. - With the Jekyll and Hyde season that the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs softball team has put itself through, Thursday's visit from Dr. Jekyll was most welcome to Mountain Lion fans.
From the perspective of at least two teams, though, the visitor was Mr. Hyde.
Crystal Krebs drove in 12 runs as the Mountain Lions won two games Thursday at the Rebel Games, beating the Pace Setters 8-0 in a five-inning mercy rule affair, then knocking off the West Virginia Wesleyan Bobcats 8-2.
â€œHey, I remember that team,â€ mused UCCS coach Scott Peterson, who has been frustrated by his teamâ€TMs identity crisis. The Mountain Lions were ranked No. 7 in the preseason poll but have been a disappointment so far this season.
â€œThat team we recognized,â€ said Peterson. â€œ(We had) great pitching and very good defense. But we hit the ball today. We ran the bases the way weâ€TMve been working at it.â€
There was plenty to be nostalgic about. Krebs, the reigning national catcher of the year, was a dominant 7-for-8 with three doubles and three home runs. Leadoff hitter Kara Rainey reached base in four of her eight plate appearances. Jennifer Dykstra was 4-for-5 with two RBIs. As a team, the Mountain Lions pounded 25 hits.
â€œI was going up there just looking for base hits and trying to capitalize on good pitches,â€ said Krebs.
The pitching was also reminiscent of 2004. Amber Colton (4-2) threw a five-inning, two-hit shutout while striking out nine against Pace. Brenna Pool (2-3) followed by taking a no hitter into the sixth inning before settling for a two-run, five-hit performance.
â€œThey were phenomenal,â€ said Krebs. â€œThey were both hitting their spots, their pitches were moving. They were in the zone.â€
But it wasnâ€TMt only the old reliables who shone Thursday. Reserves Kaleigh Beekman and Megan Cushman went 2-for-4 and 2-for-2 respectively. Freshman center fielder Brianna Workman showed the speed and bat control that the UCCS coaching staff has been excited about by going 5-for-6 with a sacrifice bunt and three stolen bases.
â€œWe all have faith in every single person who goes in there,â€ said Krebs. â€œTo see (the reserves) step up and take part in that is awesome. Itâ€TMs going to make us that much better.â€
In the opener, UCCS (8-11) manufactured a run in the first inning. With one out, Workman walked, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Krebs brought her home with a single.
The Mountain Lions added five more runs in the third. After Workman singled and Lindsay Shandera walked, Krebs belted a one-out home run to center field. Two batters later, Dykstra tripled home Brittni Carlson. Dykstra scored on an errant throw by Pace catcher Michelle Bingham.
The offensive success helped Colton dominate the Setters (0-6).
â€œIâ€TMm sick of losing so I was ready to take it upon myself,â€ said Colton. â€œThen our team just kept hitting and that helped me relax. When we come out like that, I know I can continue it.â€
UCCS staked Pool to an early three-run lead in Game 2. In the first inning, Rainey and Shandera each drew walks. Krebs followed with her second homer of the day, a 295-foor shot to left field.
That was all Pool needed aginst the Bobcats (10-12). The senior showed she was recovering nicely from a recent auto accident by facing only one batter more than the minimum through five innings.
The Mountain Lions added three runs in the fourth inning. After the first two batters were retired, Workman doubled and Shandera singled, then advanced to second on the throw home. Krebs again delivered with a double off the left center field fence. A Dykstra single scored Krebs.
Observers of Thursdayâ€TMs dominant performances who had not seen UCCS play previously remarked that the Mountain Lions were the best team they had seen this season. Those close to the team both nodded in agreement and shook their heads in bewilderment.
The question they left the Osceola County Softball Complex with was whether the Mountain Lions had really turned the corner or if more Hyde-like performances were on the horizon.
â€œWe know where weâ€TMre at and we know what we have to do,â€ said Krebs. â€œAll of us just kind of came together. As a team, weâ€TMre united and weâ€TMre one.â€
That sounds like something Jekyll might say.
UCCS Players/Staff Featured
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