Devils squeeze out two from Roaring Fork in double-dip
Tight games don’t bother Eagle Valley’s baseball team. In fact, the Devils seem to thrive on the pressure.
“The whole month of April we’ve been in tight games, whether we should have been or not,” said Eagle Valley coach Derek Cordes after the Devils’ doubleheader sweep over Roaring Fork on Saturday.
“We anticipated a tight one and we’ve gone through those situations before,” the coach said. “It was just our kids just stepping up in a tight spot.”
Starter Evaristo Jara stepped up to the challenge and matched his pitching opponent, Jake Boyle, pitch-for-pitch in a 2-1 victory in Game 1.
A 2-1 loss to the Devils in the first game, saddled the Rams to the No. 4-seed at districts, no matter what happened in the latter half of the twinbill.
Both hurlers finished with 12 strikeouts and three-hitters.
The difference was defense.
Twice, Eagle Valley scored runs off passed balls. In the first inning, Steve Evancho gave the Devils a 1-0 lead when he rushed home from third on a fumble by Roaring Fork catcher Dan Markoya.
Keegan Keltner, after the Rams tied the game at one-all in the fourth, scored the game-winner on the same play in the seventh inning.
The Devils won the second game, 10-8, to vault themselves over second-place Hotchkiss, ensuring the No. 2-spot and a home game in Tuesday’s first-round of the Class 3A district tournament.
However, the Rams, who finished the regular season as the No. 4-seed, did manage to close the gap to 9-8 in the sixth inning after trailing by five and had the winning run at the plate with two on in the seventh.
Roaring Fork led once, 1-0, in the first and rallied to a 3-3 tie in the third, before Eagle Valley took the lead for good by scoring twice in the fourth inning.
Eagle Valley rapped out 11 hits and three homers in Game 2 to earn the sweep.
Keltner and Sean Barlett bashed solo shots in the fourth and seventh innings. In-between, Brett Klahr chased Bowman from the mound with a dinger in the fifth.
Eagle Valley plays No. 7 Basalt in Gypsum on Tuesday. First-round winners advance to the district semifinals at Paonia’s Volunteer Park on Friday. The top three teams after Saturday’s championship and third-place games move on to the state 3A playoffs.