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Devils baseball returns veteran club

Ryan McClintock is part of a deep Eagle Valley pitching staff, one of many reasons the Devils are believing that 2008 is going to be a big year.
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GYPSUM, Colorado ” Every baseball season starts with optimism, but Eagle Valley has good reason.

The Devils return everyone for 2008 except for second-baseman Alex Dorothy and shortstop Bear Barkman. While Eagle Valley manager Ken Reagan will definitely miss those bats, he can console himself knowing that his entire pitching staff returns for another year.

And that’s just one of many reasons the Devils think they can move up in the 4A Slope standings this spring.

“We’ve really matured from last year’s 8-10 record,” Reagan said. “We’re looking to do some damage in our league against the likes of Delta, Moffat, Rifle and Palisade. Looking at the league, we returned the most guys.”

Got pitching?

Most high-school baseball teams have one or two good pitchers and Eagle Valley is no exception. But with doubleheaders and an otherwise compacted schedule, depth is key.

Eagle Valley has eight pitchers. While Hunter Blevins, Dan McKiernan and Paul Suther likely will shoulder much of the load, the Devils can look to Ryan McClintock, Jack Barbella, Chris Brubeck, Cody Coulter and Robert Padget.

While Reagan would like to narrow down the staff to five, competition on the mound is always a good sign.

“It’s pretty nice,” Reagan said. “We have a lot of Saturday doubleheaders. If Dan and Hunter and Paul can hold their own and go five to seven innings, hopefully, we can get it wrapped with our closers.”

There’s also plenty of experience up and down the lineup. Reagan has Seth Williamson penciled in at catcher. McKiernan’s at first with Padget at second.

Barbella moves from third to short, while Blevins, when he’s not pitching, will man the hot corner.

In the outfield, it’s Brubeck, Nick Whitehead and McClintock. Look for Coulter and Aaron Hakes to be jack-of-all-trades utility men. Cooper Adams (catcher and third base) and Nick Pietrack (first base and designated hitter) also should see time.

Eagle Valley was scheduled to host Coal Ridge today, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate. Instead, the Devils are heading to Aurora Central for a scrimmage. They will open next weekend at the Paonia Tournament against the host Eagles, Cedaredge and Basalt.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.


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