Paonia finishes Eagle Valley in five innings
Paonia, the defending 2A baseball state champions, came calling to Pete Nolan Field, and the Eagles showed they have no intention of relinquishing their crown any time soon.
Paonia used an 11-run first inning and got outstanding pitching from Philip Martinez to topple the Devils, 20-8, Thursday afternoon in nonconference play.
Despite the Eagles’ 11-run, first-inning outburst, the Devils showed plenty of life in their half of the frame, mounting and eight-run rally. Charles Faulhaber absolutely crushed a two-run dinger to over the right-field fence, scoring Stevie Evancho. Manny Varela singled to keep the rally going. Sean Bartlett doubled home B.J. Jaramillo, the courtesy runner for Varela.
Derek Baldwin followed with an RBI double. Drew Pietrack knocked him home with a single.
Nar Gallegos walked, bringing Keegan Keltner to the plate and Keltner belted a three-run blast to left. That pulled the Devils within 11-8 in an inning where the two teams combined for 19 runs, 14 hits and six walks.
Unfortunately for Eagle Valley, at the end of the first, Paonia, inserted Martinez on the mound and that was it for the Devils’ offense.
Martinez threw 4 1/3 hitless innings, striking out nine, including six straight K’s to end the game.
Before the game, the Eagle Valley baseball team dedicated a plaque, which is now affixed to the side of the Devils’ dugout in honor of former Eagle Valley student Skylar Hootman who died in a car accident during Homecoming 2002. The team will wear No. 7-patches, honoring Hootman throughout the season.
Eagle Valley (2-2) opens conference play March 30 at Basalt.