No swinging, no problem
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM ” You could almost hear Steven Tyler of Aerosmith standing on first base, singing to the Eagle Valley softball team.
Walk this way. Walk this way.
The Devils didn’t have to do much running around the bases in their 21-1 thrashing of Middle Park on Friday in Gypsum, taking 21 walks.
“In the first inning, I told the girls I didn’t want them hitting anything but strikes,” Eagle Valley coach Bill Beasley said. “In the second inning, I told them to hit anything they can hit. Just take a swing.”
After Eagle Valley starting pitcher Elena Hernandez struck out three Panthers in the top of the first, Hernandez ” the leadoff hitter ” made three plate appearances in the bottom half of the inning along with teammates Narci Huffman and Kara Platt.
The Devils scored 15 runs on 15 free passes, one error and two hits. Nine of the 15 runs came with two outs, including a two-run single by Jeanette Baker and a two-run double by Rachel Landin.
Huffman took over on the mound for the Devils in the second inning, striking out the first two batters she faced with well-placed pitches. Huffman went two innings, fanning three and allowing one run.
“I usually have pretty good control,” Huffman said.
Beasley is happy to have Huffman as a solid No. 2 hurler behind Hernandez.
“She just throws hard and throws strikes,” Beasley said of Huffman. “She’s got a natural curve, too. We’ve just gotta start working on her change-up now.”
In the top of the third, Middle Park had two runners on base with two outs when Devils right fielder Miranda Aragon made a diving grab on a hard liner.
“I’m so proud of her,” Huffman said. “I was ready to go in anyway, and she was ready for the play.”
And Aragon’s coach thought the catch was as impressive as the presentation after.
“She came up showing the ball, just like you’re supposed to,” Beasley said.
For the most part, Eagle Valley played good defense, gobbling up ground balls and picking off lead runners.
“I think we’re solid everywhere,” Beasley said. “We’re going to work with the outfielders ” we’ve got three young girls out there.”
Baker had her usual stellar performance behind the plate, blocking balls in the dirt and keeping Middle Park runners from advancing.
In the second inning, the Devils tallied only one run, which came on a single by Melissa Rodriguez. The walkathon continued in the third inning, although only after a Hernandez single, a Middle Park error and a two-run double by Rachel Landin.
As nice as it was for the Devils (1-1 overall) to pick up their first win of the season, Beasley doesn’t want to bring away much more from the game.
“You try to forget a game like this, even though you were on the winning side, because you didn’t learn anything,” he said. “I told the girls there will be no more swinging at (balls) anymore. That’s it. That’s your last chance.”
The Devils travel to Douglas County next weekend for a tournament.
Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at email@example.com or 970-748-2935.