Devils’ bats too much for Huskies in win
GYPSUM – Eagle Valley baseball shook hands with Battles Mountain, listened to a postgame talk from manager Jesse Meryhew and then got down to the most important thing – autographs.
It was the league opener for the Devils and a good one – a 12-5 win over the Huskies on Tuesday – but younger baseball players were also at Nolan Field in Gypsum to get their baseball caps for their upcoming seasons. And the kids wanted some autographs from the big guys.
“It’s great,” Devils sophomore Travis Edgar said after signing some baseballs. “The little kids supporting us? That’s awesome. To do autographs in high school is cool.”
Anybody in black and red was happy to sign, as the Devils opened their league slate by avenging a loss last year to Battle Mountain.
“Losing in the last inning was hard,” Edgar said. “But you’ve always got to beat Battle Mountain.”
Eagle Valley did that with good pitching from Tanner Coulter (four innings pitched and the win) and Cordell Schofield (the final three and the save). And, Eagle Valley finally busted out the bats, reaching double digits in runs for the first time this season.
“The guys were aggressive at the plate,” Meryhew said. “That’s something we needed to get done.”
And in the second inning, it started with two outs and at the bottom of the lineup. Austin Ellsworth and Cody Byrnes kept the inning alive with back-to-back singles, and then Zach Linder sent them both home by smashing a double off the wall. Eagle Valley made it a five-spot, with Juan Baca scoring on a wild pitch and RBIs from Coulter and Edgar.
Huskies catcher Davey Honda scored Battle Mountain’s first run in the top of the fourth to make it 5-1, but the Devils responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame.
The fourth inning was a tale of defense. Eagle Valley executed. Battle Mountain didn’t. The Huskies could have had a bigger inning, but left-fielder Austin Ellsworth hit the cut-off man, Edgar, who relayed the ball home to Linder to get Andrew Pellerito at the plate.
In the fifth, Ellsworth to Dylan Trudeau to Linder cut down another Battle Mountain run.
“Anytime you can get an assist from the outfield, it’s huge,” Meryhew said. “When the outfielders hit their cutoffs the way they did and you make a play, that can be a game-changer.”
Meanwhile in the bottom of the fourth, the Huskies committed two errors, which opened up the gates for the Devils.
“There’s games we don’t have errors,” Huskies manager Jose Meza said. “It’s a work in process. We finally got to get outside last week, so we’re really just now getting into taking grounders. They’ve got a good team. I thought Riley (Robbins) pitched well.”
Robbins took the loss, though his line will reflect a lack of defensive support.
The Devils’ defense and the lack thereof from the Huskies became a bigger factor in the game, as Battle Mountain started putting up a few runs late in the game. William Sterett had an RBI double in the fifth, and Pellerito rapped a two-run single in the seventh for the Huskies.
“I’m impressed with our boys,” Meza said. “They don’t get down. That’s something we talked about – getting going earlier. It’s tough. We’ve been doing that. But I’m always proud of the boys for not getting down on themselves.”
It was a homecoming of sorts for Meza. The Battle Mountain skipper graduated from Eagle Valley in 2002 and played for several playoff teams with the Devils. “My mom’s on the other side,” Meza joked. “She’s not switching yet.” … Web gems: Eagle Valley’s two relays to stop runs at the plate. We also hand one out to the Huskies’ Pellerito for robbing Byrnes on a line drive in the bottom of the sixth, as well as to Battle Mountain for turning a 1-6-3 double play in the bottom of the third. … Battle Mountain (1-4) is at Middle Park on Saturday for two, while the Devils are Moffat County for a doubleheader.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or email@example.com.
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