Devils nearly pull off sweep in twinbill
GYPSUM – When the snow started to fall Tuesday, the Devils heated up. And when the snow stopped, they stayed hot.Too bad for Eagle Valley it didn’t start snowing earlier in its doubleheader against Steamboat Springs. The Devils nearly overcame a 7-0 deficit in the first game, but the Sailors held on to win, 7-6. Eagle Valley used the momentum from the opener game, and a stellar outing by hurler Hunter Blevins to take the nightcap, 6-2.”Today was a good day if you could just eliminate the first inning of the first game,” said Devils skipper Ralph Carlson. “We showed a lot of heart coming back. Unfortunately we ran out of time.”In their first half-inning at the plate, the Sailors scored five runs, thanks to some good hitting and three Eagle Valley errors.”We were fortunate to get some runs across,” said Steamboat manager Dave Roy. “They had some problems in the field that we were able to take advantage of, and we kind of hung on.”After spending the first half of the double dip freezing in right field, Blevins came in for the second game to pitch all six innings and shut down the Sailors.
“He didn’t lose many batters,” Roy said. “He did a good job of keeping the ball around the plate, keeping guys off balance, and we couldn’t get the key hits when we needed them.”Blevins was particularly effective in the third and fourth innings, when he used eight and six pitches, respectively, to put away the Sailors.”That’s the thing. You get a couple of innings like that and you can go six or seven innings,” Carlson said. “His curve was working. His fastball up (high) was working, an outstanding outing for a sophomore.”Steamboat’s Alex Wood, a freshman, had an impressive stint in the first game, holding the Devils hitless until the fifth inning.”He got a little tired and started getting the ball up, but he was pretty much untouched,” Roy said.Rally timeTrailing, 7-1, in the bottom of the sixth, the Devils pounded out five runs on four singles. Tyler Conway, who came in late for Kevin Mansfield, knocked a two-run single to bring the Devils within one of tying the game.But the Sailors’ Graham Hogreie was solid on the mound in the final inning, and got some help from shortstop John Donham, who used an off-balance throw to make the final out of the game.Zach Coe went 2 2/3 innings of relief for the Devils, not allowing a run, and working out of jams in the fourth and sixth.
“He allowed us to come back,” Carlson said.In addition to earning the win, Wood also scored a run and reached base on all four of his plate appearances.Clutch hittingThe Devils trailed, 2-1, early in the nightcap, but used efficient hitting and base running to gain the lead in the third and put the game out of reach in the sixth.”We finally got those big base hits with two people in scoring position, instead of the two-out hit with nobody on, which we had been doing,” Carlson said.Alex Dorothy was an offensive weapon for the Devils, scoring three of the Devils’ six runs and going 2-for-3 with a stand-up triple in the fifth. Tim Peters, who did a good job behind the plate, also went 2-for-3 and had two RBIs.Blevins recorded six strikeouts and walked only one. He also got some help from his infield, including several putouts by shortstops Cody Comerford.”I was just having a good time out there,” said Blevins, who also enjoyed his team’s offensive production. “That helped a lot, and so did the defense.”
Dancing in the darkBecause the first game lasted nearly three hours, the second game didn’t start until a little before 6 p.m.In the bottom half of the sixth inning with Steamboat batting (the Sailors were designated the home team in the nightcap), Peters and Blevins had a bit of trouble communicating.”I couldn’t see the signs. I was just glaring in there and couldn’t see anything,” Blevins said.Peters called time out, went out to chat with Blevins, then wiped some chalk from the third base line on his fingers to illuminate them better.On the final out of the game, Steamboat’s Elliot Girard knocked a grounder to Kenny Slaughter, unbeknownst to Slaughter.”He couldn’t see the ball and it started going toward him and everybody over there is yelling at him,” Blevins said.As the ball approached, Slaughter spotted it, knocked it down, scooped it up, then stepped on the bag to end the game at around 8 p.m.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado