Eagle Valley softball upsets No. 5 Palisade 7-4 | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley softball upsets No. 5 Palisade 7-4

Devils' 14 hits down Bulldogs, who were 17-4 coming into the game

Joy Hamilton/Courtesy photo
Eagle Valley upset Palisade 7-4 on the road in its regular season finale. Palisade is No. 8 in the CHSAA RPI rankings.
Joy Hamilton/Courtesy photo

Eagle Valley used a four-run fourth inning to break away from Palisade on Wednesday, upsetting the Bulldogs 7-4 on their home turf in both team’s regular season finale. The Devils improved to 11-9 with the monumental road league victory.

“It was great, the girls played really well,” head coach Matt Kreutzer said.

Going into the game, Palisade was ranked No. 5 in the 4A RPI rankings. The league foes each scored once in the first and remained tied until the Devils’ fourth-inning barrage.

“Just good hitting, putting the ball in play and forcing some errors,” Kreutzer said of the scoring spree. The Devils scored all of their runs with two outs.

When Phedre Kempton hit a line drive to the right fielder, who threw her out at first, it looked like the fourth inning was over. The Devils appealed, however, and because the first baseman’s foot was off the bag, Kempton was ruled safe. The inning continued and the scoring started.

Support Local Journalism

“That really kind of propelled everything,” the coach said.

Eagle Valley scored two more runs in the sixth inning, and Palisade mustered up one in the bottom of the seventh, but their offensive output couldn’t match the Devils, who had five players go 2-for-4 at the plate en route to racking up 14 hits as a team.

“Our lineup one through nine is just effective with what they do,” Kreutzer praised. “I can’t really pinpoint one person standing out; it’s everybody doing their job.”

On the mound, Kempton pitched 5 1/3 innings, allowing just seven hits and three runs.

“She was throwing strikes, hitting her spot and giving the defense behind her a chance to work,” Kreutzer said, adding that the deciding factors were defensive prowess in the outfield and errors — Palisade recorded seven errors to Eagle Valley’s one.

“They made more mistakes than we did,” Kreutzer said.

“Between (Kempton) hitting her spots and the gigantic plays by everybody in the field, we came out on top. That game was really won with a lot of defensive put-outs and great catches from the outfield,” he said. Mattie Hobbs struck out three in just over an inning of work for the save.

Thirty-two teams advance to the 4A regional brackets via league play and RPI/MaxPreps rankings, with league champions earning automatic bids. According to the CHSAA softball bulletin,

leagues must have at least five teams to qualify as a league. Eagle Valley is ranked No. 35 in the CHSAA selection and seeding RPI as of Thursday.

Kreutzer said Eagle Valley has been working for a couple of weeks to reschedule games against Middle Park and Aspen, which were canceled earlier this fall because of weather. If the Devils were able to compete in and win those games, it could improve their final RPI standing. The regular season must be completed statewide by Saturday.

Even if Wednesday was the last hurrah, Kreutzer said the girls are proud of what they’ve accomplished.

“Successful — this was a year of a lot of first times,” Kreutzer said when asked to describe the season as a whole. Maxpreps archives, which only go back to 2009, indicate the Devils have zero winning seasons in the last 13 years.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had a league-game win, a long time since we’ve beat both of our league teams — it’s just a great year overall,” Kreutzer summarized. Looking ahead, the Devils lose three seniors and bring back a strong sophomore class, according to Kreutzer.

“We have a lot of talent in that class,” he said. “We’re going to have some good leadership coming up in the junior class and we’re really going to miss the three seniors leaving the program.”

The CHSAA regional pairings committee will meet Oct. 10, with the 4A/5A regional tournaments set for Oct. 14-15.

Support Local Journalism