Just pitching in

Trio of starters gives Central a lift on mound

Jeremy Champlin is one of three pitchers — Michael Price and Seth Krebill are the others — Central can trot out to shut down opposing lineups. That depth on the mound will help the Warriors once they reach the playoffs. Champlin said all the hard work is paying off for the Central trio.



Rylea Rottman, right, is one of three young players the Central soccer team is relying on to provide offense this season. After playing a defense-first formation last year, the Warriors are attacking more often this season and the result has been three straight wins.



This is certainly not the Central baseball team’s pitching staff of 2013 that leaned heavily on ace Noah Sanchez.

The 2014 edition of the Warriors’ staff is scary deep, and outside of one slip-up against Fruita Monument, has dominated most offenses it has faced. Back-to-back one hitters from Michael Price and Seth Krebill, along with a solid start from closer Jeremy Champlin, has shown Central can go three deep on the mound, something important when playoffs roll around.

They’ve done it in three noticeably different ways, too.

Price pitches angry. He’s not trying to take someone’s head off, but he has such a big chip on his shoulder it’s a wonder he can stay upright. Price’s stat line from a 4-1 win over Doherty highlights his ability to throw fire. During a complete game, Price limited the Spartans to one hit, striking out 11 batters and walking five.

“I take it personally,” Price said. “I don’t like to lose. I do take it personally when I’m out there on the mound. I want to get everybody out, and I hate giving up hits. I’m out there with a chip on my shoulder.
“First, I like to see what the ump is going to give me. And yeah, I’m not going to lie, there are times I go out there trying to throw my hardest, but honestly, my first thought is location in getting guys out.”

Although Krebill can hum in his own right, topping out near 84 miles per hour, his strength comes from being in control. Krebill can pound the low-outside corner better than most, something he’s used to great success.

Krebill has two wins in three appearances with an ERA of 0.58, the lowest on the team. Price is next, with an ERA of 1.94, and he averages just short of 1½ strikeouts per inning.

“We’ve been working hard this offseason with our pitching coach, Craig Morrill, working on accuracy and hitting that outside corner right on the black,” Krebill said. “It’s something I’m focused on, and it’s something that the coaches are focused on teaching us.”

Krebill also provides some level of balance to Price.

“I’m aware Michael is a leader for this team, and, really, I’m stepping up into my role as a leader,” Krebill said. “I feel like a lot of strong leaders is what we need for this. I don’t know how it looks, but Michael is all business, of course. He goes up there and does what he does, and I go up there and do what I do. We do balance each other out, though. We have different styles but the same approach.”

The best part? Krebill and Champlin are juniors with plenty of room to grow.

Champlin said a combination of work ethic and coaching makes him confident the Warriors’ pitching staff will reach its potential.

“We all work really hard,” Champlin said. “Our pitchers, it’s been morning workout after morning workout, and we’ve all been there.

“I could see us doing really good, knowing how we prepare. We’ll do our shadow mechanics, and once we get on the mound really work hitting the outside corner. You can’t get hurt out there, and with our defense behind us, we’ve been playing good baseball.”

Coming together

Highlighted by its crisp passing and almost psychic knowledge of each other’s movements, the Fruita Monument girls lacrosse team is off to its best start in program history with a 6-0 record.

Led by Lindsey Burenheide, Alyssa Urban and Nicole Twardowski offensively, and anchored defensively by goalkeeper Lynzie Kytle, the Wildcats have won all but one game by at least four goals.

“Last year we were a little shaky with each other, and this year I think we’ve really learned how to connect,” Burenheide said. “I mean, we’ve been playing together so long. Last year we didn’t always know how to play with each other, but this year we know where to find each other.”

Fruita Monument will face its toughest test of the season on April 4 in 4-1 Rampart, which has nonleague wins over Smoky Hill, Heritage and Cherokee Trail. 
After that, the Wildcats will open league play against Eagle Valley.

Broderick can ball

Grand Junction boys basketball standout Broderick Robinson was selected to two Colorado all-star games in the spring.

The 6-foot-1 guard, who finished sixth in scoring in Class 5A, averaged 20.9 points per game for the Tigers. Robinson was selected to “The Show,” an all-star game at the Pepsi Center on April 12, sponsored by the Denver Nuggets. The Show is meant to showcase the 20 best players in Colorado regardless of classification and year in school.

Robinson was also selected for the Colorado All-State Game on June 21 in Alamosa.

Robinson led the Tigers to 21-3 record, going 10-0 in Southwestern League play before bowing out to eventual state champion Denver East in the Class 5A playoffs.

All they do is win

The last time the Central girls soccer team won three consecutive games, few of the current squad was playing varsity soccer.

The past three seasons, the talent-strapped Warriors held on for dear life, relying on a unorthodox 5-4-1 formation and near-superhuman performances from goalkeeper Marisa Brown.

Now, Brown is playing at Otero Junior College, and the Warriors have gone all in on offense.

Lately, that’s paid off. Central beat Montezuma-Cortez 4-1, Delta 4-2 and Grand Valley 2-1.

“This group has put in a lot of time in the offseason,” Warriors coach Jacob Pingel said. “You can’t stress enough the importance of training in the offseason, playing for these club soccer teams. I know Kristal (Milholland) spent time training privately with Stephen Latta, the Grand Junction boys soccer coach. Rylea (Rottman) worked on her skills a lot in the offseason.”

The offense is flush with young talent. Milholland, a sophomore, leads the Warriors with four goals. She and freshman Rylea Rottman and sophomore Jaylynn Medina have joined senior Cierra Pennal to form an energetic, free-flowing attack.

“I think this year is much different than last year for us,” Medina said. “Having Kristal and Rylea is a huge part of that. Kristal has a lot of soccer experience, and her speed helps out a lot to get the ball up to forwards. Cierra has some incredible moves to bring to the team in the center of the field. Rylea is great because she’s young, but she brings so much enthusiasm to the team. She’s always willing to take charge when we have opportunities to score.”


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