Steamboat rallies to beat Eagle Valley, 8-4
Vail, CO Colorado
GYPSUM, Colorado ” On a chilly afternoon, Steamboat Springs’ bats went cold for five innings.
Good thing for the Sailors, those five innings were sandwiched between two dominant ones at the plate.
Steamboat rallied for five runs in the top of the seventh to score an 8-4 victory against Eagle Valley in Gypsum on Thursday. The victory is the Sailors’ second comeback win this week after they took down Moffat County on Tuesday.
“Baseball is a game of little things,” Steamboat manager Dave Roy said. “We didn’t do those things in the middle innings and that hurt us. The important thing is we finished strong. The guys I expect to come through, did.”
In the decisive seventh, the Sailors offense went from being on life support to coming up with a number of clutch hits. The first two batters of the frame reached base on a walk and a hit-by-pitch and the momentum clearly shifted in Steamboat’s favor.
Alex Wood tied the game at four with a bases-loaded walk. Next came Cody Harris’ sharp single to right to plate two more runs and give the Sailors a 6-4 edge. Senior Ryan Tibbets added one last blow to the Devils with a two-run double to the left-field wall.
“We know we can come back,” Wood said. “As soon as we got the walk, we knew there was new life. We were rolling on it, getting excited.”
The seventh-inning explosion came after Eagle Valley chipped away at a 3-0 deficit to take a 4-3 lead. In the first, Wood spotted Steamboat to a 3-0 advantage with a long blast over the right field wall. It was his only hit of the day, but it was a big one.
“It was an inside fastball,” Wood said. “I inside-out a lot of pitches. I knew it was gone with the wind.”
The Devils answered Wood’s homer with a runs by Cody Coulter in the first and third innings. Eagle Valley tied the scored at three in the fifth when Coulter doubled to the wall to knock in Larry Cavanaugh.
Unfortunately for the Devils, their offense could never fully get on track against Steamboat. Wood pitched 5 2/3 strong innings for the Sailors, striking out five and giving up two earned runs. Eagle Valley only recorded four hits in the game.
“We didn’t give ourselves a chance to get on base,” Eagle Valley skipper Ken Reagan said. “We didn’t get it done at the plate. We didn’t score more runs. You have to be able to hit above-average pitching to win games.”
Steamboat escaped trouble in the sixth to set up its rally. The Devils’ Cooper Adams knocked in Robert Padgett to give Eagle Valley a 4-3 lead. It could have been more, but Tibbets entered the game for Wood and promptly struck out Cavanaugh to end the inning with two Devils on base.
“I had a 100-pitch limit on Wood,” Roy said. “He was hitting his spots early, and kept packing away. At 99 pitches, he was pretty gassed. Ryan came in and got an out in a tough situation. Ryan did a great job for us coming in and finishing it.”
The clutch pitching by Tibbets led to Steamboat’s rally in the seventh.
“I knew these guys were going to be tough,” Reagan said. “They have a stacked top-five guys (in the order).”
The loss drops Eagle Valley’s record to 8-3 overall and 6-2 in the 4A Slope. The Devils are back in action on Saturday at Delta with a doubleheader.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.