Devils bunt and slug past Cedaredge, 7-5
GYPSUM — So, the wind is blowing out in a way that makes Coors Field look like a pitcher’s park. Both teams are not throwing their aces on the mound.
Swing away, right?
Actually, you bunt.
Hey, the counterintuitive worked. Small ball followed by the thumpers lifted Eagle Valley baseball to a 7-5 nonconference win over Cedaredge on Wednesday afternoon at Pete Nolan Field in Gypsum.
“We noticed the third baseman was playing back,” Devils skipper Jesse Meryhew said. “Sometimes guys aren’t hitting the ball very well. The bunt just gets you out of that funk. You get guys on base and put pressure on them.”
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Know the zone
With left field in Gypsum traditionally a live field and wind gusting from the south, one expected the Bruins and Devils to put up lots of crooked numbers. Instead, Devils pitcher Jake McGinty and catcher Mathew Sanchez worked together to give the former an outstanding start of five innings with only two earned runs allowed.
“We knew (the umpire’s) zone, so we went low and away,” McGinty said. “On 0-2 counts, we’d climb it. I’m thinking of letting them hit the ball and let my infield work.”
McGinty scattered five hits, punched out six and gave away only one free pass, a hit batter, with no walks, a great performance given the gusts.
The Devils did allow two unearned runs on two errors in the first inning and fell behind, 2-0. This continues a trend of slow starts for Eagle Valley (4-1), something that Meryhew wants to see his squad improve, particularly as league play looms, starting April 1.
The Devils also need to work on base running. They got away with the delayed double steal with runners on first and third in the second inning — Kyle Williams scored Eagle Valley’s first run that way — but it was not the design. Zach Cossette, on first at the time, was able to run out of the run down, and steal second. Cossette would atone for that later.
Garrett is very useful
With runners on first and second in the bottom of the third and the game tied at two, Sanchez laid down a bunt, and Cedaredge was not able to get the out at third, leaving the bases loaded, proving Meryhew’s point about putting pressure on the defense. Garrett Martin drove in Jake Cosette for a 3-2 lead. The Devils, nonetheless, ran themselves out of third, making the second out of the frame at third on another base-running error.
Down 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth, Sanchez laced a single.
“I just go up there and think contact. Just get on base and good things happen,” said Sanchez, the No. 2 hitter, who got on base three times in four plate appearances. “Joe and Garrett did a great job smacking the ball. I just want to get them on base and give them RBI opportunities.”
Joe is Joe Rivera III who ripped a double, plating Sanchez. Martin left earth with a two-run shot to right. Kyle Farris singled and Zach Cosette promptly drilled a double to left for a 7-4 lead.
Eagle Valley’s John Walsh pitched a nice sixth inning but left the bases loaded in the seventh. A handy guy to have around, Martin was summoned to the mound, and, after allowing a one-run single, promptly fanned the last two Bruins to save the game.
The Devils host Holy Family on Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, firstname.lastname@example.org and @cfreud