Eagle Valley drops doubleheader to Palisade | VailDaily.com

Eagle Valley drops doubleheader to Palisade

Ian Cropp
Bret Hartman/Vail DailyEagle Valley's Emily LyBarger catches a fly ball in the third inning Saturday against Palisade at the Gypsum Sports Complex.

GYPSUM – Give me your sick, your tired and your injured. This isn’t what it says on the Statue of Liberty, but it’s what Eagle Valley softball coach Bill Beasley got on Saturday.The beleaguered Devils fell to the Palisade Bulldogs 8-3, 12-5 in a Homecoming twinbill.With catcher Kayla Phillips still nursing an injury, several Devils under the weather and most girls dragging from the week’s Homecoming festivities, Beasley’s squad struggled on both sides of the ball.”We had some errors and mental mistakes,” Beasley said. “It just wasn’t our day.”Unlike in last weekend’s scoring bonanza, the Devils had trouble stringing together hits.”Our bats weren’t moving very quick,” Beasley said.

In the first game, Palisade pitcher Lindsey Osburn recorded eight strikeouts and three walks. Osburn’s speed on the mound allowed her to strike out the side on the fourth inning.”(Lindsey) controlled the tempo,” said Palisade coach Jamie Dunn. “She was throwing the ball really well and everything was close to the plate. And when your offense starts coming around, you put a couple hits together, and it starts happening.”The Devils took a 2-0 lead in the third inning, but the Bulldogs scored three runs in the fourth and would not relinquish the lead. Amy Strakbein went 2-for-4, and scored a run, while Emily LyBarger went 1-for-2, walked twice and scored twice.For the Bulldogs, Saunders Stewart batted in three runs, while Kristy Leonard and Val Cary each scored two runs.K’s and BB’s

In the first game, Chelsey Lueders put down the Bulldogs swinging eight times, but she also gave the Bulldogs eight free trips to first base with walks.”She wasn’t really on her game today, which happens,” Beasley said.Lueders’ bat, however, was one of the few working for the Devils. In the 8-3 loss, Lueders had two runs batted in. After a slow start on the mound in the second game, Lueders was replaced by Elana Hernandez. Both Hernandez and Miranda Hicks, who replaced catcher Phillips, played solidly in the second game.The Bulldogs were able to hit the Devils pitchers with consistency in both games.”They hit the ball very well,” Beasley said. “That team is going to score runs. We just need to outscore them.”

Palisade received a little help from Eagle Valley in the form of errors and bad communication.”I kind of made a key error that started one of their rallies, but they kept going from there,” LyBarger said.On several occasions, Devils outfielders had no options to make cutoff throws, as the infielders weren’t in the right positions. The infield also had trouble collecting Bulldogs ground balls and throwing to first in time for the out.Trouble at the plateThe speed of the Palisade pitching was much faster than what Eagle Valley had seen in its four previous games.

“Facing a fast pitcher makes you have to think quicker and get ahead of (the ball),” LyBarger said.Pitch speed isn’t as important for LyBarger, who often bunts her way onto base or walks. As she did in the first game, LyBarger reached base in all but one of her at bats.Eagle Valley hopes this game proves to be an anomaly in what has recently been stellar play by the team. On Tuesday, the Devils face Rifle at home at 6 p.m.”Next week is crucial,” Beasley said. “We need to reach our peak now as we approach regionals.”Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 608, or icropp@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado

Support Local Journalism