With two outs, Devils rally and don’t look back
GYPSUM – It started when the Devils’ Kevin Mansfield blasted a double and ended with him standing in the on-deck circle. Eagle Valley used a nine-run, two-out rally to turn what could have been a long, cold and winless Saturday into a long, cold doubleheader sweep of Steamboat in Gypsum.Trailing 8-1 heading into the bottom of the third inning of the opener, the Devils’ bats came alive Eagle Valley went on to win 19-10 in the lidlifter and 18-5 in the nightcap.”We said, ‘Hey, if something happens, forget about it and move on to the next pitch,'” said Eagle Valley manager Ken Reagan.In the top of the third, Steamboat’s Cody Miles smacked a two-out, two-run homerun to give his team a seven-run lead. Whereas in previous games this year, the Devils had packed it up while trailing by a bunch, they had no intention of doing so Saturday.”We’ve put an emphasis on that,” Reagan said.
In the bottom half, with two runners on and two outs, Mansfield brought in two runs, putting a dent in the Sailors’ lead.”We were attacking pitches. That’s what you’ve gotta do when you are struggling. Go up and hack at ’em.”Dan McKiernan drove home Mansfield with a double, then after two walks, Ryan McClintock brought home two more with a clutch single. Hunter Blevins, who started the inning flying out to left, kept things rolling with an RBI double, then Bear Barkman hit a two-run double to give the Devils the lead. Alex Dorothy’s RBI single gave his team a two-run cushion before a fielder’s choice put a stop to the Devils’ rampage.As was the case in the second game also, the bottom of the Devils’ order came through with clutch hitting to keep the runs flowing.”Those guys did their job there,” Reagan said. “We’ve had guys who have been struggling who came up, and even if they didn’t get a hit, they walked. That was nice to see.”
McKiernan took the mound in relief to start the fourth, and went three innings, striking out seven, and giving up one earned run. McKiernan also started the second game, pitching two innings of shutout ball.”He can throw – he’s got a rubber arm,” Reagan said.In both appearances, McKiernan’s fastball got Steamboat batters whiffing and his curveball caught them looking.”All day, outside corner,” McKiernan said. “I’d switch it up every now and then from curveball to the fastball.”McKiernan was just as clutch from the plate, going 3-for-5 in the opener with four runs batted in, then going 3-for-4 in the nightcap, launching a three-run homer in the top of the sixth.”I just found the ball and drove it,” he said of his first career dinger while holding the ball after the game.
Blevins was just about the only Devils’ batter who didn’t single Saturday – he was too busy hitting doubles. The leadoff hitter ripped four doubles in the first game, then added two more later on.”I don’t know what it was,” said Blevins, who injured his thumb taking batting practice from the pitching machine earlier this week. “I showed up and everything felt good.”Mansfield went 4-for-4 in the opener, and scored seven runs on the day, while Barkman was 5-for-9 and scored five times. The switch-hitting Dorothy was 6-for-9.”Alex Dorothy and Bear Barkman, as leaders, stepped it up after that not-so-good loss to Glenwood (Thursday),” Reagan said.Nick Whitehead had two doubles, including a two-run smack late in the second game, while Jason Mirelez sent a deep double to the fence on his first plate appearance back from a long absence. Mirelez, who caught the first game, threw out a runner.
The Devils’ infield scooped up just about anything the Sailors put on the ground.”We worked on it in practice, so we need to bring it the day we play the game,” Reagan said of the fielding. “We made some good diving plays and hung with it.”Dorothy pitched three scoreless innings to close out the nightcap, and struck out five. Paul Suther fanned two to close out the first game.Tuesday, Eagle Valley heads to Battle Mountain.Sports Writer Ian Cropp can be reached at 748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.