Bulldogs take two from Devils
GYPSUM – In anyone’s arm was tired in the nightcap of Saturday’s doubleheader between Eagle Valley and Palisade, it was the umpire’s – from pumping his fist after so many strikeouts.The Devils’ Hunter Blevins recorded 10 Ks, while the Bulldogs’ Matt Burnes notched 12 in a pitchers’ duel that saw Palisade come out on top, 2-1.”That’s fun to have two young pitchers going at it like that,” said Palisade coach Mike Kruege. “It’s a great high school baseball game. I was talking to Eagle Valley’s coach (Ralph Carlson) who said Hunter’s a sophomore. I said to him, ‘Oh great, now I’m going to be having nightmares for the next two years.'”Following Palisade’s 10-2 victory in the opener, the two hurlers showed immense control, freezing batters and forcing numerous ground outs.”It felt like (Hunter) just kept us off balance, and Matt was throwing well enough to only give up three hits,” Kruege said.
In the top of the fourth (Palisade was the home team for the second game), Burnes struck out four Eagle Valley batters. After the Devils’ Bear Barkman missed on what was strike three, the ball eluded Bulldogs catcher Alex Bauer and Barkman reached first base. Barnes then whiffed one, surrendered a hit to Kevin Mansfield, and fanned another Eagle Valley batter to end the inning.But in the bottom half of the inning, Blevins put on a show of his own. With a Palisade runner on second and nobody out, Blevins punched out the next three batters.”Hunter threw very well,” Carlson said. “He deserved to win that game. He had control of his pitches. His was breaking his curve ball off very well.”And Blevins endured some major heckling from the Palisade bench.”I heard everything imaginable over there,” Blevins said. “I just liked their side because they made me laugh. I stood there when they got all loud to see if they would stop, but they were pretty consistent.”Even in his final inning of work, Blevins showed poise, striking out two, including Jake Watt, who after watching the third strike sail across the plate, started towards the dugout before the umpire made the call.
Small ballPalisade strung together two hits and benefited from an error, a walk, a hit batsman and a blooper to grab its two runs in the nightcap.Eagle Valley had to work for its only run in the top of the fifth. Kenny Slaughter hustled out a single on a roller that Bauer couldn’t handle in time. Slaughter then stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error.Cody Comerford laid down a nice suicide squeeze to bring Slaughter home. Comerford also turned a double play at shortstop to end the third inning.
“Even though we didn’t get our bats going so well, our defense was pretty solid,” Blevins said.Alex Dorothy, who went 5 2/3 in the lid lifter, wasn’t afforded the same help in the field.”He threw really well,” Carlson said. “We had one bad inning where he had five earned runs, and one unearned, then the rest of the runs were unearned.”Dorothy, who struck out seven, was warned by the umpire for throwing inside on a batter.”He had good control,” Carlson said. “I think that was a bit hard on Alex. He walked the next guy (after being warned). But his arm was looking good and his velocity in the last few innings was better than the first few innings.”Zach Coe came in to finish out the first game and had another clutch performance, holding the Bulldogs scoreless.
Leevi Crabbe went the distance for Palisade and recorded seven Ks.Eagle Valley has a week off before it heads to Glenwood Springs for a twinbill Saturday starting at 11 a.m.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or email@example.com.Vail, Colorado