Devils stun Delta, 8-5
DELTA — Down goes Delta. Down goes Delta.
Eagle Valley baseball got one of its biggest wins in years, taking down Delta, 8-5, on the road on Tuesday afternoon.
The Devils had lost 12 straight to the Panthers, dating back to April 11, 2008.
“It’s amazing,” catcher Eric Boyd said. “It feels great to beat them after the last few years. We showed energy and that we were able to come together as a team.”
Eagle Valley (5-3 overall and 2-0 in the Slope) served notice that Tuesday would be different by hanging a five-spot on Delta in the top of the second.
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“It’s huge to get up early,” Devils skipper Jesse Meryhew said. “It gives you an opportunity to stay aggressive. It also took a lot of pressure off the hitters. Put the ball in play and good things will happen.”
Touch em all, Eric
That’s a general baseball axiom, which Meryhew has adopted. The skipper has many.
“Coach always talks about how a big inning starts with an error, a walk, getting hit by a pitch,” pitcher and first baseman Wade Ticer said.
Ticer took one for the team to start the second. Boyd followed with what he thought was a routine fly to left. Then he saw the Panthers left fielder stop and look up and heard first-base coach Paul Sabo say, “Touch ’em all.”
While it wasn’t a walk-off like Joe Carter in the 1993 World Series, it was the beginning of big things for the Devils.
Connor McCanless followed with a triple. Kyle Williams knocked him home. Sug Ellsworth followed with another single and then Harrison Stevens cleared the bases with a double and the Devils had a 5-0 lead.
Ticer, who started the game and would go 6 1⁄3 innings, had a cushion and used it nicely, stifling the Panthers with a liberally applied changeup. Delta was aggressive at the plate and mixing speeds kept its hitters off balance.
A Williams sacrifice fly and a Ticer single and another Garrett Martin sac fly added Eagle Valley runs in the third, fourth and seventh innings, and those were good things. Delta did not go down easily.
Here comes the deuce
Ticer gave way to Ellsworth in the seventh and he struck out the last two batters with a steady diet of fastballs with one notable exception. With two strikes on the last batter, Ellsworth went to the deuce down and away. Boyd didn’t get the third strike cleanly, but came up with the clutch block, keeping the ball in front of him. Boyd gathered it up and fired over to first, where Ticer was waiting, and the Devils had the big win.
“It put the exclamation point on things,” Ellsworth said. “The team jumped up and was pumped.”
While most baseball seasons are marathons, seasons in the High Country are sprints, as Meryhew often says. The Devils host Summit for a doubleheader on Saturday at Nolan Field. Lest anyone in the Devils dugout get complacent, the Tigers swept a pair at Rifle last weekend.
Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934, email@example.com and @cfreud.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.