Devils can’t match Palisade’s bats in loss |

Devils can’t match Palisade’s bats in loss

Eagle Valley's Caroline Paxson winds up and delivers against Palisade on Tuesday, Aug. 21. The visiting Bulldogs won, 24-9.
Rachael Zimmerman | Special to the Daily

GYPSUM — So far in 2018, there is no question that Eagle Valley softball can hit.

The question that may determine the Devils’ season is, “Do they have the pitching and the defense?”

Eagle Valley continued its torrid start at the plate during Tuesday, Aug. 21’s home opener against Palisade at the Gyspum Sports Complex, but fell short against the Bulldogs, 24-9.

“They’re a good-hitting team,” Devils manager Jason Buvala said. “This is one of the better-hitting teams that we have had in my time here. We lost one of our better hitters in Regan Bossow, but, offensively, this is arguably the best offensive team that I’ve had. They showed it.”

The Devils (2-2 overall and 0-1 in the 4A Slope) have ripped off a whopping 59 runs in their first four games. Nine runs in four innings on Tuesday should keep them in the game against a league opponent such as Palisade.

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But visiting Palisade brought the lumber/aluminum on Tuesday, scoring eight runs in the top of the first and seven more in each of the ensuing frames, rallies which were extended by poor defense in the form of errors or incorrect decisions given the game situation.

“It’s just they’re in their (own) heads,” Buvala said. “The girls know what to do. It’s not we have to work on a girl’s on third and what do we need to do if the ball gets hit to short? We don’t have to work on that stuff in practice. These girls have been playing together for years. It’s just in their head. They know they can make the throws. They know they can cut the ball off in the outfield. They just didn’t do it. It’s just a mental game.”

In a hole early

Palisade batted around in the first three innings. Bulldogs shortstop Eimy Aguirre was making noise even when the Devils managed to retire her.

She was 3-for-5 with two doubles and a third-inning homer to left, good in all for five RBI.

Leadoff-hitter Cassie Bittner reached base in all five of her plate appearances and scored five runs. Palisade pitcher Jetta Rivera was the beneficiary of this offensive explosion, going the distance and earning the win.

Eagle Valley scored in three of its four trips to the plate. Third-baseman Arianna Pena had a big day for the Devils with four RBI, including a two-run double in the second.

Pena scored in the fourth on a two-run bomb by Devils senior Caroline Paxson.

“I think we win as a team and we lose as a team,” Paxson said. “We need to make some adjustments, so we can go head-to-head with the best team in our league. I was just doing my job. If that means pumping people up with a hit, you’ve got to do it, anything you can do. “

The good news is that Eagle Valley, which beat Boulder twice and lost to 5A Fairview, 9-8, in a time-limited game, is right back at it with a trip to Rifle on Thursday, Aug. 23.

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