Gypsum: Devils baseball opens districts with Lewis-Palmer | VailDaily.com

Gypsum: Devils baseball opens districts with Lewis-Palmer

GYPSUM, Colorado ” What is it with Eagle Valley baseball and its six-degrees-of-separation playoff draws?

Last year, the Devils got Conifer, whose athletic director just happened to be Jeff Leuders. That would be the same Leuders who was an assistant principal at Eagle Valley earlier this decade.

This year, No. 18 Eagle Valley draws No. 15 Lewis-Palmer Saturday at 12:30 p.m. in District 5 at Mountain View High School in Loveland. The Rangers’ football coach is Carl Ramunno.

Yep, same Ramunno. That would be Big John’s younger brother by three years.

“I just got off the phone with (Carl)” John said. “I think I’ve seen our baseball team more than he’s seen his. He said that they (Lewis-Palmer) only have one football player on their (baseball) team. I think we got an up on them.

By Ramunno’s count, Nick Pietrack, James Van Dyke, Seth “Willie” Williamson, Cody Coulter, Aaron Hakes and Robert Padget all play football and baseball. Advantage, Devils, according to Ramunno.

“(Eagle Valley manager) Ken Reagan’s done such a good job with them. I’d live for them to go down there and get a big win.”

Realistically, this is anyone’s game. Lewis-Palmer enters with an 11-7 record, while the Devils are 14-5. At No. 18, the Devils have a good seed given that Western Slope teams are not given the benefit of the doubt this time of year. The winner of the Devils-Rangers game is pretty much assured of playing host and No. 2 seed Mountain View at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

There are two major factors going into Saturday’s game. The first is postseason experience. Eagle Valley has it. Reagan’s crew, minus the four seniors who graduated last year, made districts last year and lost to Conifer, 16-2.

While they didn’t like the result, the Devils think they learned from that.

“I think what really hurt us was that we were really psyched up,” said Coulter, who will get the start for Eagle Valley. “We’ve got to be relaxed. You just have to play the game like you normally do. They’re kids just like us. They’re not ridiculously-seeded higher than us. It’s not like they’re going to have a kid who’s throwing the ball 95 mph.”

A minor concern is that the Devils haven’t played a game since April 21, a 19-1 rout of Battle Mountain in Eagle-Vail. The Devils had a similar stoppage in their season when spring break rolled around in March. The Devils’ bats weren’t as sharp as they would have liked when they returned to the diamond.

“We’ve actually had quite few intrasquad games with our own pitchers going in live situations,” Reagan said. “We had them Saturday and Tuesday. We’ve done a lot of batting practice and fielding. We’re approaching it a lot differently than we did last year.”

Soccer teams lose

It was a tough day for the local soccer teams.

Battle Mountain (8-7) went down to Wheat Ridge and the No. 1-ranked Farmers came away with a 10-0 win. Vail Christian (4-10-1) lost at Coal Ridge, 6-0.

Battle Mountain and the Vail Mountain School will wait until Sunday when CHSAA announces their playoff assignments.

Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 970-748-2934 or cfreud@vaildaily.com.

Devils at District 5

Who: vs. Lewis-Palmer, 12:30 p.m.; winner plays the winner of Mountain View-Alameda at 3 p.m.

Where: Mountain View High School, Loveland.

At stake: The champion of District 5 goes on to regionals, starting next Friday.