Devils’ McClintock throws a no-no in Gypsum
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” By the time Eagle Valley pitcher Ryan McClintock realized what was at stake Tuesday against Battle Mountain, there wasn’t much time left in the game.
“I really didn’t know about it until the last inning, then just said, ‘Don’t think about it, don’t think about it,'” said McClintock.
The “it” is always unnamed, that is of course, until the opposition breaks “it” up or the “it” turns into a no-hitter.
In the fifth inning of his team’s 10-0 win in Gypsum, McClintock recorded the first two outs ” one on a comebacker and the other on one of his eight strikeouts ” then had to worry.
Battle Mountain’s Chris Schmidt connected on a McClintock pitch, sending a hard fly in the gap between the left and centerfielders. Eagle Valley leftfielder Cody Coulter, however, swooped in and made the catch to preserve McClintock’s no-hitter.
“I looked at that hit and thought it was dropping,” McClintock said. “It was a good play.”
The Devils, who led 9-0 in the top of the fifth, scored a run in the bottom, to end the game due to the 10-run rule.
“(Ryan) threw strikes and his curveball was dropping in the zone and we had some good defense,” said Eagle Valley skipper Ken Reagan.
Earning a spot
Along with some routine outs, Eagle Valley saw third baseman Hunter Blevins and shortstop Jack Barbella fielded hard grounders for putouts.
“It’s nice to know when the ball is on the ground, you’re going to get an out,” said McClintock, who grabbed his first career no-no. “I’m still taking it in, this is pretty cool.”
McClintock struck out the side in the first and third, and the second inning. When the only Battle Mountain batter reached base on a walk, McClintock quickly picked him off. Reagan, who started McClintock against Paonia earlier this season, said McClintock should be worked into the rotation.
“We’ve been working up to where he’s going to be starting games in the week,” Reagan said.
For the Huskies, the contest marked the first time on grass since their last game, as their practice field is still under feet of snow.
“We’ve never been on the field,” said Battle Mountain skipper Jason Spannagel. “You’ll hear us talking and we’ll be coaching from the bench and someone, said, ‘You should have taken care of this in practice,’ but in a sense, this is practice for us.”
Huskies’ pitchers Daniel Rascon and Schmidt had good control, but Eagle Valley batters were making solid contact.
“I’m pleased with our starting pitchers. They’ve gone out there and thrown strikes and given us a chance. As long as we’re not walking people, you give your defense a chance to make plays,” Spannagel said.
In their previous few outings, the Devils had solid pitching and defense, but had trouble hitting with consistency.
“Our main focus was hitting, because that’s what we’re going to have to do to win some big games,” Reagan said.
The Devils scored three runs in the first, and broke things open with a five-run third.
Eagle Valley first baseman Dan McKiernan smacked a two-run single, but the highlight of the game came when Robert Padgett launched a two-run dinger.
Padgett, a lefty, sent a high fly to deep center, which easily cleared the fence.
“I was just trying to hit the ball,” Padgett said. “It felt good and had the distance.”
Blevins nearly sent one out of the park in the top of the fourth, but the ball hit the top of the fence and came back into play. McKiernan, who went 2-for-3, brought Blevins home with a single. Blevins finished the game going 1-for-1 with two walks and three runs. Barbella batted in two, while Aaron Hakes knocked in the game-ending run.
Spannagel hopes that once his team gets out on the field for practice, they’ll be able to start generating more offense.
“We haven’t been able to see live pitching,” he said. “We’re hitting in the cage. And our offense has been the downfall.”
Battle Mountain (0-7 in the 4A Western Slope, 1-8 overall) will travel to Paonia Thursday for a twinbill, while Eagle Valley (5-2, 8-2) hosts Delta for a pair Saturday.
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-748-2935.
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