Huskies take down Eagle Valley J.V. in four
The Battle Mountain baseball team hadn’t played outdoors once before Tuesday’s rivalry game against Eagle Valley’s J.V. squad, so some rustiness was to be expected.
Despite a handful of errors from both squads on a blustery, cold day in Gypsum, the Huskies were able to outhit the Devils in what was a short four-inning contest, winning, 12-9.
“I was real pleased with our hitting,” said Huskies coach Jim Gannon. “Considering we’ve just had a batting cage for two days and it’s the first time we’ve played on grass, I was real happy with our guys.”
Battle Mountain jumped out to a 6-0 lead after its first two innings at bat, scoring three runs in the first inning and three in the top of the second inning before the Devils struck back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame.
The Huskies bumped their lead back up to six again in the top of the third, and appeared to be cruising for an easy win heading into the bottom of the fourth up, 12-4, but the Devils got rolling in the latter portion of the inning, belting in five runs off tiring Huskies pitcher Nick Libertini.
Just when the game got interesting, though, it also became too dark to play, with the evening sun long since buried in the western horizon after four innings of action. After an umpire’s meeting at the pitchers mound before the start of the fifth, the game was called.
“I stuck with (Libertini) because I knew that was the last half-inning,” Gannon said. “There’s no point in stopping the game, and warming another pitcher up when it’s so cold. We were just trying to get him through that last inning.”
No. 5-hitter Phil VanBuren knocked in the first two runs of the afternoon for the Huskies after he ripped a double to center off Devils pitcher Craig Wilmers that scored Thomas Pacheco and Jose Morales.
Then, with VanBuren at third, after advancing off of a passed ball, Jimmy Feeney lined a 3-2 pitch from Wilmers into center again to score the Huskies’ third run of the inning.
Libertini was his strongest in the first inning as he sat down the Devils leadoff hitter Joe Felix, No. 2 hitter Cody Comerford and cleanup man Chris Harvey on flyouts.
He got ruffled a little in the second, though, as the Devils earned bases by being patient at the plate. Libertini walked three batters in the inning and walked in one of the three runs scored by Eagle Valley.
The other two runs came from Wilmers, who knocked in John Huffman with a single, and Comerford who brought home David McMichael from third by slapping a looper over Libertini’s head that landed in the hole between second and third base.
The Devils switched pitchers in the third inning and again in the fourth, going from Wilmers to Bear Barkman and then to Joe Felix, but the result was the same for each of the Eagle Valley hurlers – the Huskies scored three runs in every inning played.
Eagle Valley was a little more unpredictable, going for five runs in the fourth after being held to just one in the bottom of the third.
Harvey got the rally started for the Devils in the last frame when he laced an 0-1 pitch from Libertini into right, scoring both Comerford and Kenny Slaughter.
Harvey then scored off a single from Tim Peters. The last two Devils’ runs came off passed balls from Libertini, as Peters and Curtis Leblanc both scored from third base.
“We need to work on communication, a little work with the catcher getting the rust out,” Gannon said. “With the kind of losing that these guys have experienced in the past, the win was the most important.”
With the win, the Huskies improved to 1-0 on the season.
Contact Nate Peterson at 949-0555, ext. 608 or via e-mail at email@example.com
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