LyBarger, Devils slam door on Middle Park
The Eagle Valley softball team posted five runs in the first inning, then rode the coattails of pitcher Sara LyBarger to an easy 10-0 victory over the Middle Park Panthers at the Eagle County Fairgrounds Thursday afternoon.
Middle Park’s freshman pitcher Whitney Young was completely overwhelmed in the first inning, as the Devils batted around and put up five early runs.
From there, LyBarger would take over, recording six shutout innings to go with her nine strikeouts and three hits allowed. She also recorded two hits on the afternoon to help her own cause.
“I felt good today,” said LyBarger. “It was a good win because we know some of the girls from the other team from playing with them this summer.”
They may not want to know LyBarger, or any other Devil, all of whom played extremely well on both offense and defense. The offensive onslaught was led by Morgan Strakbein.
“Morgan broke out of a mini-slump today,” said Devil’s manager Brad Stiles. “She went 3-3 with two singles, a double and a walk.”
Junior Whitney Beasley went 2-3, scoring twice, and Suzy Moore had a strong day behind the plate, catching LyBarger’s shutout and throwing out two runners attempting to steal second.
With the runs on the board for Eagle Valley, and her defense playing well behind her, it was up to LyBarger to keep retiring Panthers. That she would do at will.
The only threat for Middle Park came in the fourth inning, when the Panthers would get two runners aboard with only one out. LyBarger would strike out the next batter and force a pop up to end the inning.
“I was trying to keep the pitches up because I know some players like them there,” said LyBarger. “The ump was giving me the inside of the plate, too.”
And, she would use the inside to routinely send Panther batters back to their dugout.
Middle Park’s Young pitched well in the middle innings, but Devil bats would again catch fire in the bottom of the sixth, when they would add four insurance runs. The game was called on the 10-run mercy rule after that to seal the 10-0 Devil victory.
In the second game, Eagle Valley won, 7-3. LyBarger pitched another complete game with six strikeouts. Offensively, Strakbein went 3-for-3 with three singles. Brianna Ehlert went 2-for-4 with a double. Kayla Phillips was 1-for-3 with a double and Sarah Wood hit the ball hard, going 1-for-3 with one RBI.
Eagle Valley, which is now 9-3 on the season, heads east this weekend to play Denver Lutheran Saturday at 10 a.m.
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