Eagle Valley baseball defeats Battle Mountain 8-0 | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley baseball defeats Battle Mountain 8-0

Loupe pitches shutout as Devils improve to 3-3

Eagle Valley defeated Battle Mountain Saturday in Eagle. The Devils improved to 3-3 with the win.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

After watching their friends fall on the first day of a Battle Mountain/Eagle Valley rivalry weekend in Friday’s boys lacrosse match, P.J. Lombardo and Jacob Loupe were eager for revenge on the diamond Saturday afternoon in Eagle. Loupe allowed four hits in six innings, striking out 11, and Lombardo went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in an 8-0 win over the Huskies.

“After the lacrosse team lost, it feels good to get a win over them,” Loupe said.

“We just wanted to dominate Battle Mountain,” added Lombardo. “We just wanted to bounce back from the loss last year.”

Eagle Valley’s Elias Pena lets a pitch go by during Saturday’s game against Battle Mountain.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

Both team’s pitchers were on fire through the game’s first four innings. At that point, Cooper Irwin — whom Loupe complimented as “the best pitcher in the league by far” — had allowed just two hits and had nine strikeouts — but the Huskies had given up four runs.

“There wasn’t really a single individual moment. I think it was just a lot of little moments that resulted in the score,” Huskies head coach Jeff Townsend said. 

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“We had good pitching and we had some good things happen throughout the game; we just need to be a little more aggressive.”

Trailing 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Huskies had an opportunity to bring the game back with three men on and one out. Battle Mountain’s Franco Moreno hit a fly ball to second base for the second out and Loupe struck out the next batter to avoid any damage.

A Devil baserunner steals second base in the fifth inning of Saturday’s game against Battle Mountain. The Devils scored two runs in the top of the inning to take a 6-0 lead.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“I mean, a base hit scores two right there and makes it a 4-2 ballgame. That kind of would have changed the momentum, so, getting out of that the way he did is huge,” said Eagle Valley head coach Bret Moyer.

“That’s where strikeouts are big.” 

“You get into a point like that, you can’t really give up contact,” Loupe said of his mindset at the critical juncture. “So, I was just straight trying to throw it by them. You have to be at the top of your game trying to beat them at that point.”

Loupe strives to emulate the flat, rising fast ball of three-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander, and throughout his brilliant outing, he swapped back and forth between speed and a sharp 12-6 curve.

“He’s been dominant when he’s been going out there,” Moyer said of the junior, whom he said has been hitting the low-80s on his fastball. 

“He’s got good breaking balls. Today it was a lot of fastballs; they were swinging at the high fastball. If you can get them swinging at that, it’s tough to catch up with.” 

Eagle Valley’s Nicholas Rahe scores a run in the top of the fifth inning during the Devils win over Battle Mountain on Saturday in Eagle.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

The Devils broke the game open with two more runs in the fifth before the Huskies replaced Irwin for Moreno on the mound. Moreno would allow two runs, striking out three in a little over two innings of work. The Huskies had a man on second and third in the bottom of the final inning, but Patrick Reno came in and struck out the final two batters to preserve the 8-0 shutout.

“It’s the best all-around game we’ve had this year,” Moyer said. “The boys hit the ball pretty well, pitched great, and I mean we just came out and did things really well.”

Franco Moreno delivers a pitch during the fifth inning of Saturday’s game between Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley.
Ryan Sederquist/Vail Daily

“Today was just a lack of defense and lack of aggressiveness; that was the difference in the game,” Townsend said. “But, it’s a good team, a young team. We’re building and we’re going to have a good season.” Townsend took over for Harrison Stevens as coach this spring. The Huskies graduated 10 seniors off of last year’s 13-11 squad.

“We only have three seniors this year so we’re counting on a lot of young guys to step up and the lead the team and we need that and they’re starting to,” the first-year coach continued. “The more that step up, the more success we’ll have.”

At 3-3, Loupe believes the key for the Devils to ensure Saturday’s win as a definitive step forward is to keep the offensive momentum going.

“Putting six runs on Cooper is great,” he said, “And we gotta keep laying runs on.”

Jack Robinson also went 2-for-4 on the night and scored two runs and freshman Anthony Ehlert went 1-for-4 in the Devils’ five-hit victory.

“We just need to keep the pedal to the metal the whole game,” added Lombardo. “We need to keep the energy up.”

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