Devils split games in tournament play
GYPSUM – The Devils were happy the sun came out on Saturday, even if it didn’t help them in their first game.On Friday, an hour after the sun went down, the Devils were about to take the field when a deluge made the officials call the game.”You can’t predict Mother Nature, but we were happy to get two games in on Saturday,” said coach Bill Beasley.Saturday morning Eagle Valley lost to Grand Junction, 12-1, but then bounced back to beat Gunnison, 12-0, later in the day.”The only bright spot this morning was the sunshine,” Beasley said. “I’m not sure where the team we had this morning came from.”In a game filled with mental errors, the Devils didn’t look like the team that won three games last weekend.
“Our intensity was down and we weren’t focused,” said Kayla Phillips.Phillips had two of the team’s three hits in the losing effort. Chelsey Lueders started the game on the mound, but was relieved by Lauren Prewitt.”Chelsey struggled with her control, but that is why we have five pitchers,” Beasley said.ShutoutLueders came back to start the second game against Gunnison, and would not leave the mound. She earned her first shutout of the year in the five-inning effort. Few balls made it out of the infield for Gunnison.”I really worked on my pitches this summer, like the drop balls, which makes for easy grounders,” Lueders said.From the first pitch, the Saints looked sharper than their previous game.In the top of the first, Emily LyBarger got on base with a walk. After stealing second, LyBarger advanced on a fly-out to center field. Lueders grounded out on the next play, but LyBarger used her speed to beat a throw to home plate.
LyBarger finished the game going 2-for-3, with a sacrifice bunt and three runs. Lueders helped her own cause with two hits and three runs batted in.”Their pitching was a little slower than usual, but we just waited on it,” Lueders said.One players who didn’t wait long enough was Amy Thompson. On one pitch, Thompson crushed the ball over the left field fence, but pulled the ball a few feet foul. She finished with two hits and three runs batted in.”Amy hits the ball with force every time she moves the bat,” Beasley said.More hot batsIn the fourth inning, the Devils batted around the order, scoring seven runs. Phillips slammed a double deep into center field for one of her three hits in the game.”It felt great,” Phillips said of her double. “I was getting a little frustrated in the first game and the beginning of the second game because at practice it feels like I’ve been hitting it really solid, but today for a while, I was hitting the ball down.”Her coach isn’t quite as critical.
“Kayla has been swinging the bat well from the get-go,” Beasley said.Some of the Eagle Valley runs scored on defensive errors by Gunnison.”They had a lot of mental errors and pop ups that were dropped,” Beasley said. “This year Gunnison is a real young team.”In the field, the Devils were sharp and got to just about every ball.”I don’t think we had one error,” Beasley said. “That is the way we know how to field the ball.”On Tuesday the Devils face Rifle. Beasley says he’s excited to face Rifle’s fast pitching.”We want the heat,” Beasley said. “We can handle the stuff.”Sports writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or via email@example.com.Vail, Colorado