Eagle Valley splits with Palisade in Gypsum
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” The Eagle Valley baseball team is getting greedy.
Forget being happy with their first victory over Palisade in Ken Reagan’s four years as manager. The Devils wanted the sweep.
Eagle Valley almost accomplished that mission. The Devils let a 3-0 lead slip away, and lost 5-4 in Game 1. In the nightcap, Eagle Valley (6-2, 3-1) rebounded with an 8-4 victory.
“It’s huge,” Eagle Valley skipper Ken Reagan said. “After the way the first game went, that was huge.”
Jack Barbella did everything he could to will the Devils to a win in Game 1. The junior started on the hill and was cruising until the fourth inning. After only throwing 26 pitches in the first three frames, Barbella needed 21 to get out of the fourth.
Palisade’s Riley Josey laced a two-run single to center to close the score to 3-2 in the Devils’ favor.
After the Bulldogs tied the score at three in the top of the fifth, Eagle Valley went back on top in the bottom of the inning. Seth Williamson knocked in Robert Padgett with a sharp single to center. Williamson went 3-for-3 at the plate with three RBIs.
Unfortunately for the Devils, Josey came to the plate in another big situation in the sixth. This time, Josey launched a two-run home run over the center field wall for a 5-4 lead.
“Maybe (Jack) got a little fatigued at the end,” Reagan said. “He was throwing strikes and guys weren’t timing him up right. Guys were way out front, way behind. At the end, they’re good enough hitters to get on him.”
Eagle Valley couldn’t tie the game against Palisade’s Jesse Brannan, who went the distance to earn the win. Barbella was a tough-luck loser, pitching seven innings and fanning nine.
Devils come back
Playing as the visiting team in Game 2, it didn’t take long for the Devils to strike back. Cody Coulter led off with a infield single to short. Two batters later, Barbella drilled a triple over the right fielder’s head for a 1-0 advantage.
Cleanup hitter Robert Padgett made it back-to-back triples for a 2-0 lead. Before the inning ended, Eagle Valley led 4-0 and racked up five hits.
“We just had to put the first (game) out of our heads and charge back at them,” Coulter said. “We knew we could beat them the first game. It just got away from us.”
Spotted with an early lead, Coulter took care of the rest on the mound. Mixing in cutters, changeups and curveballs, to go along with his fastball, Coulter kept Palisade off balance all game.
After giving up a first-inning run, Coulter didn’t allow another player to cross the plate until the sixth inning. The senior earned the win with 6 1/3 strong innings.
“Cody pitched well,” Reagan. “He has a sore arm and we just told hem to go as long as he could and let us know. He said, ‘I’m going all the way.'”
Coulter didn’t quite go the distance, but T.J. Loera was able to come in and slam the door on any potential rally in the seventh for the save.
The offense also did its part. After putting four on the board in the first, Eagle Valley added another three in the second. Barbella again came up with the big hit. He laced a two-run double to left to score Coulter and Loera.
Barbella finished the doubleheader 5-for-8 with three RBIs and four runs scored.
“This is the first day that I’ve hit pretty good (this season0,” Barbella said.
Padgett added three hits, three runs and an RBI in the doubleheader for Eagle Valley. Cooper Adams gave the Devils’ an insurance run in the seventh inning of Game 2 with his first-career home run.
Eagle Valley is back in action next Saturday when it hosts Rifle.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.