Demons roll past Devils behind Romero’s strong outing
The Eagle Valley Devils came to Glenwood Springs on Wednesday afternoon sporting an overall record of 7-3 and an unblemished 4-0 mark in the Western Slope League. The Devils had outscored conference opponents by a 62-9 count in their four victories and looked to be the team everyone would have to chase down in order to wear the WSL crown.
The home-standing Demons proved to be unimpressed by the Devils resumé, as they used a dominating pitching performance from senior Stephen Romero and some timely hitting to bounce Eagle Valley from the ranks of the unbeaten with a convincing 6-0 shutout victory.
Veteran Glenwood Head Coach Eric Nieslanik had high praise for his pitcher and the entire group of Demons following the big win.
“It starts with Steve [Romero] on the mound. He controlled the game today,” said Nieslanik. “His pitches were always around the strike zone. We got some key hits to back him up and did the little things right today.”
The key hits for the Demons came early as third baseman Cooper Cornelius hit a bloop single to advance Tyler Boyd, who had been hit by a pitch, and Romero, who found himself on base when Eagle Valley shortstop Joe Rivera made a throwing error that allowed Glenwood to load the bases. Catcher Jake Brown flied out, but Boyd was able to push the Demons ahead as he scored on a passed ball to give Glenwood a 1-0 lead after the first inning of play.
After holding the Devils scoreless in the top of the second inning, the Demons waited for two outs to go by before they decided to pounce on Eagle Valley pitcher Jake McGinnty. Shortstop Chano Gonzalez blasted a single and ended up on third base following two Eagle Valley throwing miscues. It was Boyd at the bat again, as the Demons second baseman ripped an RBI double to score Gonzalez. Romero then helped his cause on the mound, as he lashed a double of his own to score Boyd and put Glenwood up 3-0.
The Devils’ biggest scoring threat of the game came in the fourth inning when Garrett Martin made it to third base after a walk and some good base running on a ball that got past Demon catcher Brown. But the fast-balling Romero ended the threat as quickly as it started as he struck out Matthew Sanchez to retire the side.
Glenwood made sure not to squander their scoring opportunities in the fourth, as they decided to nail the coffin shut on the Devils in what proved to be the deciding frame.
The inning started with singles in triplicate by Gonzalez, Romero, and Cornelius to load up the bases. The Devils brought relief pitcher John Walsh into a tough situation that continued to spiral in the wrong direction as Brown reached first on an error, and Glenwood’s Tristen Howe doubled to right center field to allow two more boys wearing red to cross the plate for a 6-0 lead that would end up being the game’s deciding margin.
Nieslanik then brought in lefty Davis Deaton to take the mound in relief of Romero. Deaton closed the door on the Devils in the sixth and seventh innings, keeping the Demons shutout intact.
Though Romero kept the Devils bedeviled in his 5.2 innings on the mound, he was quick to credit the game as a team win.
“I’m just happy with this win. The guys did a great job behind me today. We cleaned up some of our mistakes from past games,” said Romero. “This is one of the best games I have ever pitched.”
For the Demons (4-3, 3-0 WSL) the Summit Tigers will pay a visit to the Glenwood Middle School field this coming Saturday for a doubleheader, with game times slated for 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.