Vail Valley preps: Huskies baseball makes history by beating Devils
GYPSUM – After Battle Mountain’s baseball players stopped jumping up and down, celebrating in the cold late afternoon sun, they smiled at one another as if to say, “So this is how it feels.”
For the first time ever, the Huskies beat Eagle Valley in baseball at the varsity level.
Battle Mountain erupted for three runs in the fifth inning to take a 5-4 lead, then hung on behind relief pitcher Joe Webb, a senior, who held Eagle Valley scoreless for the last four innings.
“This is the one we wanted,” said Michael Jones, also a senior.
After the game, no one was quite sure if this was the first time ever (it was), but it was the first one anyone could remember.
“It’s the first one since I was born,” Jones said.
It’s the first one Spannagel could recall.
“It’s the first time since I’ve been here, and that’s been five years,” he said smiling.
Spannagel was quick to give credit to his seniors, especially Webb and Jones.
Webb took the mound in relief in the top of the fourth, with two Eagle Valley runners on base and the Devils threatening again. He struck out the first batter he faced, then got some help with a sparkling play at third by Chris Duran who made a backhanded stab, took two steps and dove at third base to touch the bag with the ball and force the runner for the third out.
Webb held the Devils scoreless the rest of the way.
“We’ve been working on my location and that was a big part of it today,” Webb said.
Eagle Valley coach Ryan Triece was quick to take responsibility.
“This one was my fault,” he said after the game. “I made a bad call at the end and it cost us the game.”
With two runners on and two out, Triece called for a bunt. James Van Dyke was on third and broke for the plate, but the pitch was too far out of the strike zone for Austin Ellsworth to get his bat on it. As Van Dyke was scrambling back into third, the Huskies gunner the other runner down at second for the game’s final out.
“I take full responsibility for the loss, Triece said.
Eagle Valley scored once in the top of the first when Van Dyke singled home Tanner Coulter for a 1-0 lead.
Battle Mountain showed it was in it to win it with two runs in the bottom of the first. Jones and Dave Honda hit back-to-back singles and Duran drove them both home with a single to left center for a 2-1 lead.
Eagle Valley scored twice in the second when Zach Linder drove home both Reece Ellsworth and Brandon Hudspeth to make it 3-2.
Eagle Valley added its fourth run in the third when Cordell Schofield’s RBI single scored Van Dyke.
Battle Mountain erupted for three runs in the fifth. Jared Kirkman opened with a single, Riley Robbins walked and Jones did what seniors are supposed to do a drilled an RBI double to left.
Eric Weiss followed with his own RBI single to put Battle Mountain in front 5-4.
And there, for the first time ever, is where it stayed.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or email@example.com.
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Jeff Shiffrin, with his wife, Eileen, made the Vail area their home decades ago, and together raised Mikaela and Taylor Shiffrin, who was a member of the two-time NCAA Champion University of Denver Ski Team.