Devils baseball sweeps Rifle, qualify for playoffs
GYPSUM — Eagle Valley baseball made it simple in a complicated way.
Despite falling behind in both games, the Devils swept Rifle, 7-6 and 11-7, on Friday to clinch a spot in the 4A state tournament.
With the sweep there was no need for Internet surfing, text messaging or using carrier pigeons to find out what happened in the Summit County-Delta twinbill. (Delta also swept.)
Eagle Valley and Delta finished in a tie for second place at 9-5, behind Palisade, and all three teams are off to the dance with Summit holding a slim chance of grabbing a wild-card spot.
“They shook hands and then ran down the line,” Devils manager Jesse Meryhew said. “It was really good to see and I’m very proud of the guys.”
Sug Ellsworth went six-and-a-third innings in the lidlifter, and Connor McCanless got the save. A triple by Harrison Stevens and a Slater Sabo single started a three-run first for the Devils.
In the fourth, Eagle Valley scored by just about every way imaginable — an error, and actual hit by Joe Rivera, a passed ball and a balk. Good teams do that.
“We’ll take those free ones,” Meryhew said.
Eagle Valley was down 5-0 after the top of the first in the nightcap, but just kept clawing away, scoring in every inning.
The Devils took the lead for good in the fifth inning on run-scoring hits from Kyle Williams and Logan McCanless. Then, Ellsworth went yard, and the Devils were on the way to the playoffs.
And that’s a really good way to celebrate Senior Day. Your Eagle Valley baseball seniors are Wade Ticer, Stevens, Ellsworth, Sabo, Eric Boyd and Jackson Sandell.
Eagle Valley will find out its playoff draw on Wednesday on chsaa.org.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.