Devils keep runs coming in 8-6 win
GYPSUM – Run and you shall be rewarded.The Ken Reagan baseball philosophy worked well for Eagle Valley Tuesday in a 8-6 win over Conifer.”Anytime we can get guys in scoring position, we do it,” said Reagan, the Eagle Valley coach. “Our guys know it’s their job, and they’ll do it. And we had hitters come through.”With the score tied at six in the bottom half of the sixth inning, Eagle Valley used aggressive baserunning and a gap hit by Nick Whitehead to pull ahead 8-6, and Paul Suther closed things out in the top half of the next inning to seal the win for the Devils.”That’s all I ask – they do their job,” Reagan said. “I think they could have played a little smarter, and probably done a few things a little better fielding, but we were down three starters before the game.”With an infield that had only one player in his normal spot – first baseman Dan McKearnan – and backup catcher Kevin Mansfield behind the plate, the Devils contained Conifer for most of the game.Ryan McClintock went 4 and two-thirds innings for the Devils, surrendering only four hits and picking up one earned run.
“The most important thing was he threw strikes,” Reagan said. “He was around the zone.”With the bases loaded and one out in the top of the second, McClintock struck out the next two batters in seven pitches.McClintock threw 91 pitches before Paul Suther came in as relief.Put him inRobert Padgett was heading to JV practice Tuesday when his plans suddenly changed.”They called me here,” Padgett said. “This was my first varsity game.”
Padgett, the sophomore, played like he’d been on the diamond as a varsity player before, going two-for-two with two runs.”I just came into it,” Padgett said. “It’s just like practice.”In the bottom of the second, Padgett ripped a double, then scored on a Herman Hogue stand-up triple. Then, to start out the fourth, Padgett laid down a bunt and beat out the throw. Padgett walked to start the sixth, advanced on a passed ball, and eventually scored the game-winning run on Whitehead’s double.”He’s going to stay on with us for the year now,” Reagan said.Mansfield, who got the nod before the game, too, did a great job blocking balls in the dirt and keeping runners at first base in check.”Kevin is one of our best athletes,” Reagan said.
One the pathEagle Valley stole seven bases, many of which helped put runs on the board. In the fifth, Whitehead stole second and third, while Mansfield stole a base, and later got caught in a pickle between third and home, but scored. Mansfield had two runs, while Alex Dorothy had a run and batted in one. Whitehead, Bear Barkman and Hogue each had a run.Suther entered the game throwing with velocity, and in the sixth, the Conifer bats came alive for three runs, two of which came on a Wes Knott hit deep to right.But Suther didn’t let the inning phase him, and fanned two Lobos in the final inning, finishing with four strikeouts.Conifer, a non-league opponent, was on spring break and played with a mix of varsity and JV players. This weekend, Eagle Valley will be in Paonia for a tournament.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.