Huskies baseball makes a splash
EAGLE-VAIL – Twenty years from now, Battle Mountain baseball will remember Thursday’s game as one that was for the state title, played against the New York Yankees and won by a walk-off home run.The Huskies might even recall that it was 75 degrees without a cloud in the sky.With Battle Mountain not having won a game since 2004 and enduring more than its fair share of lopsided losses, one could excuse the Huskies for whooping it up after beating Lake County, 9-3, Thursday on a rain-soaked Senior Day.”I didn’t get a hit, but it feels good to have a win,” said senior Mitch Hendrix, who was a freshman on the squad the last time the Huskies got a win. “It feels twice as good to have a win as it does to have a hit. It’s great. I’m not going to lie.”With the win, Battle Mountain sent out its seniors Derek Byron, Zach Domenico, Gus Everly, Nick Hand, Hendrix and team manager Emily Trujillo in style in the team’s final home game of the year.”Just knowing people like Mitch and Zach who have really been wanting to win a game, we got a game for them, for all of us,” senior designated hitter Gus Everly said. “It just feels great. This is the greatest feeling in a long time.”And to celebrate, the Huskies happily took head-first postgame slides through the muddy infield. But those dives couldn’t match the best slide of the day by Everly.The judge gives it …Hendrix held the visiting Panthers at bay with five solid innings, giving up just three runs and three hits, a solid performance given the deteriorating conditions. Tied 3-3 going into the bottom of the fifth, the Huskies needed some runs or the weather was going to win.Battle Mountain sent seven batters to the plate and scored six times, putting the game away. Donnie Cuomo got things going with a single, and Jeremy Windham doubled. Cameron Brown walked to load the bases, bringing up Everly.The senior, who had doubled in a run earlier in the game, was ready to do some damage.”When I walked up there I said to my myself, ‘I’m going to bring them in,'” Everly said. “In the back of my head, my dad said, “Hit the ball.’ I hit the ball for him.”Everly blasted his second double of the game off the right-field fence, scoring Cuomo and Windham. Chad Wilkinson knocked home Brown with a single. With Wilkinson on first and Everly at third, Battle Mountain pulled off the delayed-double steal. Wilkinson took off for second, drawing the throw. While Wilkinson looked hung out dry, Everly lumbered home safely with a memorable slide. With base path from third to home thoroughly soaked, Everly started sliding about a few feet before the plate and pretty much kept hydro-planing from there. “I heard, ‘Down,'” Everly said. “I just went down as soon as I could. I just kept on going. I didn’t know how to stop it.””For the look of the slide, I’ll give him a negative-five,” Hendrix joked. “That was the ugliest slide I’ve ever seen in my life. But for the length of the slide, I’ll give him a 100.”Wilkinson ended up scoring on an error. With a 9-3 lead and still no outs in the inning, the game was called and Battle Mountain had its first win in three years.”We’ll take it,” Battle Mountain skipper Jason Spannagel said. “I really wanted this game, and I think all the coaches did for the kids. They’ve worked so hard. We’ve noticed all the little improvements. We keep telling them it’s going to pay off. Some days, it just doesn’t feel like it’s ever going to happen. Finally, they smelled blood, and they got to go out there and get the feel of a win.”Battle Mountain (1-17) heads to Olathe to play Bayfield Monday to close the season.Sports Editor Chris Freud can be reached at 748-2934 or email@example.com.