Lady Devils head to softball regionals for third straight year
With the win, Eagle Valley travels to Aurora for the regional round of the state playoffs, their third straight year to make it to the show.
“It’s not over yet,” smiled senior Lindsay Kunkel, looking at Gunnison, for whom it certainly was.
“I guess I’m supposed to be sad because it’s our last home game, but we’re so excited to still be playing we haven’t thought about it yet,” said senior Sarah Brubeck.
Sara LyBarger, who could throw a BB through a bank vault door, pitched Eagle Valley to the win, allowing only four hits. Lybarger also went 4-for 4 at the plate with three bunt singles and an RBI single, and helped her own cause with a double play. Most of the day, Cowboy hitters had the confused look of Bill Clinton trying to come up with a definition of “is.”
Eagle Valley pushed a foot onto Gunnison’s throat in the first inning with three runs, and methodically dismantled the Cowboys the rest of the way.
“This was a workmanlike win,” Eagle Valley coach Butch Reynolds said. “We did everything we needed to do, and more.”
Friday’s win was a parallel universe away from the last time the two teams met. In that one, Gunnison took Eagle Valley to extra innings.
Not this time.
The Lady Devils scored in every inning, dealing the death blow immediately after Gunnison’s only pitchers had a mound conference – presumably so the Cowboys could choose China patterns for their postseason banquet.
Eagle Valley’s Cathryn Reynolds cranked a double and a single to go with her bases-loaded sacrifice fly. Kayla Phillips added two singles and Amy Strackbein, whose smallest strike zone occupies the smallest area this side of a particle physics experiment, went 2-for-3.
About the only trouble Eagle Valley faced came in the third inning. Eagle Valley held a 5-0 lead when Gunnison loaded the bases with one out. A long running catch by Kunkel in center field was followed by a dazzling putout by third baseman Brianna Ehlert, who charged a dribbling grounder and fired it to Reynolds at first like she was throwing darts through dinosaur hide. That got Eagle Valley out of the inning after allowing only one run.
Eagle Valley plays either Thursday or Friday in the first round of the regional playoffs, depending on where they’re seeded. Either way, the Devils play at 12:30 p.m.