Devils go deep and sweep Battle Mountain
GYPSUM — As the Nike ads in the 1990s told us, “Chicks dig the long ball.” Well, so does Eagle Valley baseball.
The Devils’ Kyle Williams and Joe Rivera went yard in key moments of their doubleheader against Battle Mountain on Tuesday in Gypsum, propelling Eagle Valley to a 16-9 and 4-3 sweep.
“Joe’s and Kyle’s were clutch hits,” Devils skipper Jesse Meryhew said. “I’m extremely proud of the team. I wish I could say that it had something to do with me, but it was all them.”
Touch ’em all, Kyle
Battle Mountain got the jump on Eagle Valley in the lidifter with a four-spot in the first inning as Peyton Kellerman and Hunter Meier had RBI knocks. The Huskies were sniffing upset when Nick Williams went opposite field for a two-run single and an 8-5 lead.
The Devils kept grinding as Oscar Gallegos and Kyle Jordan both reached base in the bottom of the fifth. With Eagle Valley down 7-5, Zak Cosette ripped a two-out, two-run single, and that would be the theme of the frame.
The Devils scored nine runs with two outs. Mathew Sanchez singled, setting up the table for Williams. He smashed an opposite field three-run shot that gave the Devils the lead for good at 10-7.
“I knew we needed a game-changer and I knew we needed it fast,” Williams said. “I did what I could to help the team.”
Not content to stop there, the Devils piled on as Tyler Greear, Gallegos and Garrett Haagan all added RBI.
Garrett Martin got the win for the Devils with 5 2/3 innings off efficient pitching.
“He’s been throwing strokes for three weeks and that’s what we need from him,” Meryhew said. “With the pitch count, that’s big thing.”
Touch ’em all, Joe
Battle Mountain played a much cleaner game in the nightcap, which turned into a pitchers’ duel between Rivera for the Devils and Sean Weller for the Huskies. That was pretty remarkable, given that temperatures were plummeting and it was hard for both to grip the ball.
The Huskies took a 3-2 lead into the bottom of the fifth. Sanchez got on with a single, and Rivera, having struck out in his first two at-bats, came to the plate with two outs.
Rivera smashed the ball off the scoreboard in left field, adding a dramatic touch to his round-tripper.
“It felt pretty good,” Rivera said. “I didn’t know it went off the scoreboard until I got back into the dugout and my teammates told me.,”
That made for a tough loss for Weller, who fanned nine Devils. As darkness fell, the Huskies got the tying run to second in the top of the seventh before Rivera finished up his gem with a fly ball and a grounder. Rivera gave up only six hits, one walk and one hit batsman, while striking out five Huskies.
For Battle Mountain (4-8 overall and 0-8 in the Slope), the second game was particularly tough.
“These guys are just as frustrated now as we are,” Battle Mountain manager Jose Meza said. “We can live with the effort we had in Game 2. That was our message.”
Both teams have Rifle next. The Huskies are at the Bears on Thursday for a single game, while the Devils (8-7, 7-3) head west for two on Saturday.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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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.