Devils blank Huskies, 12-0, in Gypsum
GYPSUM, Colorado ” Eagle Valley baseball hadn’t played a game in 10 days, so the Devils were a bit rusty.
“It had been a a week-and-a-half. We were pretty excited to get a game in,” Devils starting-pitcher Jack Barbella said. “We really didn’t hit the ball too hard. We usually hit it harder.”
The Devils hit the ball plenty hard in an efficient 12-0 five-inning win against Battle Mountain Tuesday to move their 4A Slope record to 6-1 and their overall mark to 9-2.
Eagle Valley threw out a pitcher per inning in Barbella, T.J. Loera, Cody Coulter, Seth “Willie” Williamson, and Nick Pietrack, who all teamed up for the shutout, scattering three hits and fanning eight Huskies.
“We pitched a guy every inning and got them some innings, got them thinking 1-2-3,” Devils manager Ken Reagan said. “That’s always good. Usually, when you pitch a guy for a whole game, they save themselves for different situations. We got in our heads today that we just wanted to get outs. I wish we hit the ball a little harder.”
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And despite their protestation to the contrary, the Devils had enough lumber, putting up a pair of five-spots in the second and fourth innings.
After Barbella ended his inning by inducing a slick 6-4-3 double play. Coulter and Loera set the table. Barbella knocked in Coulter with a fly ball to center and Robert Padget plated Loera with a a grounder to first.
Both of those runs were unearned and Huskies starter Cameron Brown continued to suffer from a lack of defensive support ” with the exception of catcher Davey Honda who gunned down two Devils base runners ” in the second.
“I thought Cameron pitched outstanding,” Huskies manager Jason Spannagel said. “If we play a little defense, then Cameron’s pitching performance looks a little better than a 12-0 loss He threw strikes. … People are going to hit the ball off of us, especially a good-hitting team like Eagle Valley. What we have to do is limit the big innings, limit the easy runs we give up.”
Eagle Valley’s Larry Cavanaugh rapped a two-run single and was later brought home by Coulter. Loera stole home as the rally continued and Padget got his second RBI of the day with a single to give the Devils a 7-0 advantage.
Barbella roped a triple in the fourth, and Williamson and Aaron Hakes followed with RBI singles and the Devils won by the 10-run rule.
Sailors and Panthers
Battle Mountain (0-8) heads to Glenwood Springs for a pair Saturday, and the Huskies desperately need some outdoor practice.
“The games are coming,” Spannagel said. “What would really help is if we could get three solid days in a row of practice of a baseball diamond. You can’t really simulate the grass and dirt and the space in gym. That is where we have problems.”
Meanwhile, Eagle Valley has its sights set on the pennant. The Devils host Steamboat Springs Thursday at 2 p.m., and then head west for a twinbill against Delta Saturday. While the Saturday double-dip with the Panthers will go a long way toward finding out who might end up on top of the Slope heap, the Devils must take care of business Thursday against the Sailors.
“I think for the last three years Steamboat has taken one from us,” Reagan said. “We don’t take those guys lightly. We saw them down at the (Paonia) tournament. They can play. We don’t look past anybody.”
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or firstname.lastname@example.org.