Jara and Devils breeze past Basalt | VailDaily.com

Jara and Devils breeze past Basalt

Andrew Harley
Vail Daily/Bret Hartman Eagle Valley's Steve Evancho, right, slides into home to score in the first inning Tuesday as the Basalt catcher drops the ball. Eagle Valley won, 12-1.

As the Basalt benchwarmers played catch behind their dugout, figuring the ratio of home runs that their team gave up to the few they hit (17:3), the starting squad took its last swings and misses of the season.

Eagle Valley pitcher Everisto Jara and the Devils 10-run-ruled the Longhorns, 12-1, at home Tuesday in the bottom of the fifth inning with a walk-off home run by catcher Manny Varella.

“I’m happy. It was a good pitching performance. They played good defense and we’re ready to go onto the tournament and face tougher teams,” said Eagle Valley coach Derek Cordes.

Jara picked up his sixth win of the season (6-2) behind his 82 mile per-hour fastball. He racked up 12 strikeouts – his fourth consecutive game with 12 or more strikeouts – and the Longhorns didn’t hit more than a couple of balls hard in the entire game.

“It went pretty good. They didn’t want to throw me too much because I have to pitch on Friday, but I had to because we weren’t scoring much in the beginning,” said Jara.

The Devils’ bats were quiet for the first couple of innings, but in the bottom of the third, Steve Evancho singled to right. The hit bounced over the Basalt fielder’s head, Keegan Keltner scored and Evancho strolled into second base. Evancho drew three pick-off attempts – all of which failed miserably – and the Basalt pitcher spent so long staring down Evancho that he threw the next pitch in the dirt, giving away third base. Varella singled Evancho home, and the Devils took a 3-0 lead.

Basalt scored its lone run in the top of the fourth on a drastic Devils’ throwing error.

The Devils answered with brutality in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs, highlighted by an opposite-field homer by Evancho.

Jara struck out the last Longhorns batter he faced.

Devils’ Owen Stanford reached on a walk in the bottom of the fifth and stole second. Derek Baldwin also walked. Nar Gallegos hit an infield single and picked up an RBI. Keltner picked up two RBIs with a double. Evancho flew out to center field. And, with two down and Keltner still on second, Varella smashed an opposite-field home run to clinch the game, 12-1.

“It felt great. We have been practicing quick hands, and I hit the ball the other way on a curveball,” said Varella.

Keltner finished the day 4-for-4 with 3 RBIs. Evancho went 2-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs. Varella was 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBIs. And, Gallegos went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

“Nar had a nice sacrifice bunt that really got an inning going,” said Cordes.

The MVP combination for the game had to be Jara on the mound and Varella behind the plate.

“I call the pitches and he just has to throw ’em,” said Varella. “We also communicate in Spanish. We use our signs, whatever works.”

“There’s pretty much no confusion between us,” said Jara.

The Devils head to Paonia on Friday for their next playoff game at 11 a.m. vs. Hotchkiss.

“I gotta work on my curveball before then,” said Jara.

Andrew Harley can be reached at (970) 949-0555, ext.610, or at aharley@vaildaily.com.

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