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Eagle Valley baseball loses in postseason

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

LAKEWOOD, Colorado ” Eagle Valley baseball opened up its first playoff game in six years just as it had planned ” bats a blazin’.

Unfortunately for the Devils, however, the opposing Conifer squad did the same. And while Eagle Valley’s offense flamed out, Conifer’s couldn’t be contained in the Lobos 16-2 first-round 4A state playoff victory Saturday in Lakewood.

“They were really good hitters and put the ball where they needed to,” said Eagle Valley skipper Ken Reagan. “Our pitchers couldn’t get ahead in the count, and it’s easy to be good hitters when you know exactly what’s coming.”

Dan McKiernan started the game for the Devils and gave up four runs in the first, then two more in the third.

“He threw OK,” Reagan said. “He gave up six hits, had two walks and four strikeouts.”

Reagan sent Hunter Blevins to the mound in the fourth, and Blevins pitched the final two innings of the five-inning contest, giving up 10 runs.

“They put the bat on the ball and hit us pretty well,” Blevins said. “It definitely wasn’t one of our better days.”

The Devils hadn’t faced a pitcher who threw heat in more than two weeks, but didn’t have much trouble making contact off the Conifer hurler early.

“Our bats were hot in the first inning,” Reagan said. “We put a lot of balls in play. Their pitcher was OK. He was nothing much better than what we saw in (top Western Slope teams) Moffat County, Palisade and Delta.”

Blevins brought home center fielder Nick Whitehead in the top of the first to give the Devils their only lead of the game.

“We came out and scored that fist run, and I thought it might be a good game, but they were consistent and we weren’t,” Blevins said.

Eagle Valley added another run in the fifth when shortstop Jack Barbella singled in right fielder Ryan McClintock , who started the inning with a single. Devils’ leadoff hitter Cody Coulter went 1-for-2 with a walk, as did Whitehead.

In the field, Eagle Valley played well aside from a pair of errors, and turned a double play.

“(Conifer) just played very aggressive and smart baseball,” Reagan said. “Most of their hits were flat out hits, and all we could do was field them and hit the cutoff. We did have too many walks ” seven ” and once those kids get on, you have another kid who can put the ball in play.”

Saturday’s game was the first postseason appearance for the Devils since 2002, and the first as a 4A team.

“It was good going down there and good experience to get into the playoffs,” Reagan said. “You can’t let one loss take away from a pretty good season.”

The Devils finished the season at 14-6, and tied for third in league at 9-5.

“It was cool to make the playoffs,” Blevins said. “Last year we were 8-10, so this was definitely one of our better years.”

Eagle Valley graduates seniors McKiernan, Blevins, Whitehead and Paul Suther.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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