Shepherd zones in to lead Rampart softball to victory over Doherty

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Photo - Rampart senior Abby Konkel (14) is tagged out at second base by Doherty senior Montana Spring (3) as sophomore Angelina LoCricchio (5) looks on in the fourth inning. The Rampart Rams defeated the Doherty Spartans 10-3 in girls' softball on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at Rampart High School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing
Rampart senior Abby Konkel (14) is tagged out at second base by Doherty senior Montana Spring (3) as sophomore Angelina LoCricchio (5) looks on in the fourth inning. The Rampart Rams defeated the Doherty Spartans 10-3 in girls' softball on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at Rampart High School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing

Shelby Shepherd’s arm wasn’t feeling so good on the mound in the first inning Tuesday.

But a dab of pain-relieving cream for her aches and some runs from her offense certainly helped things by the time she came out for the second.

The Rampart pitcher put in seven strong innings, Olivia Risch had a career-high five RBIs, and the Rams beat Doherty 10-3 to notch their first 10-win season since 2014.

“The first inning was definitely rough,” Shepherd said. “But the second inning, it was like the arm and blood and everything was flowing again.”

The offense behind her, meanwhile, continued to gush.

Brianna Jennings added four hits, and Alex Hill drove in two runs for the Rams (10-4, 7-1 5A Colorado Springs Metro League), who have scored 10 or more runs in each of their wins this season.

“Today, I’d say that’s the cream of the crop in the league right there,” Doherty coach Mike Berkey said. “They’re solid one through nine, ten, whatever it is.”

Angelina LoCricchio had three more hits for her ninth multi-hit game of the season as the resurgent Spartans (6-8, 4-5) looked better than the team that lost to Rampart earlier in season as part of its 0-5 start to the year.

“There’s a lot of positive we can take out of this, I think,” LoCricchio said. “We can do a lot better than we did today, but we were hitting and we did pretty good.”

PREP SOFTBALL
Rampart senior Shelby Shepherd (10) pitches in the third inning. The Rampart Rams defeated the Doherty Spartans 10-3 in girls' softball on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at Rampart High School. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing 

But while patient at-bats up and down the order led to 11 hits for Doherty, the key smack was elusive against Shepherd.

The senior slinger, without her best stuff, relied on a mix of speeds and locations to strand seven runners in scoring position on the day.

After hitting a batter with the bases loaded in the first, Shepherd escaped further damage by inducing two flyouts.

Jayda Randle threw a runner out at home and Shepherd had a two-out strikeout with a pair in scoring position to limit the damage in the second.

Shepherd then ended the fifth after she snagged a grounder and threw to second to begin a double play. And in the sixth, she froze a batter with a punch-out that left two more in scoring position.

With traffic, “it’s an automatic mental click for me,” Shepherd said. “I’m like ‘Nobody is touching home.’”

In the race for a league title, Rampart stayed within half-game of Pine Creek (8-6, 7-0), which beat Rampart 9-3 two weeks ago.

The Rams have four league games remaining, while the Eagles have five. The two meet again on Sept. 28.

“We’re focused on our game and how we are playing as a team,” Risch said. “We’re not really playing them, we’re playing our game. We’re playing the ball, not playing the team.”