Devils sweep Roaring Fork
By Andrew Harley
GYPSUM – Eagle Valley needed to win one of its games against Roaring Fork on Saturday to become the league champions. The Devils walked off the field victorious, having swept the doubleheader, finishing the regular season with a 17-2 record.
Eagle Valley won the first game by a score of 4-2 and the second 16-6.
In the first game, Roaring Fork and Eagle Valley matched each other in the first inning by scoring one run apiece.
The game turned into a pitcher’s duel for the next three innings between Eagle Valley’s Steve Evancho and Roaring Fork’s Jake Boyle. The Devils left four men on base in the three innings.
In the fifth inning, J.J. Alvis smashed his first triple of the day to the center field fence. Justin Wood followed him with a sacrifice fly to center, and the Devils were up 2-1.
Roaring Fork struck back in the sixth when Boyle crushed a pitch, which caught the wind and sailed out of the park.
Eagle Valley retaliated in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back doubles and a Texas-leaguer from Chris Lopez that scored Jason Leniger.
Evancho single-handedly shut down the Roaring Fork offense in the seventh by striking out two and snagging a liner headed for his face.
“We had our chances,” said Roaring Fork coach Eric Nieslanik.
“We didn’t catch enough breaks in the first game, and we didn’t get the key hits. Jake Boyle tried to kick-start us. He only gave up two runs out of the four, so he held his own.”
Lopez started the second game for Eagle Valley, and Jake Bowman held the mound for Roaring Fork.
The Rams came out hot in the first inning, scoring three runs. However, the top of the inning ended in memorable fashion. Bowman was at the plate with runners on first and third and one out when a pitch came at his head. Bowman fell to the ground to avoid being plunked, but his bat did not fall as fast as he did. The pitch hit the bat, and the ball dribbled into play, Wood, the catcher, scooped up the ball, hurled it to second for the force out and the ball beat Bowman to first for an unconventional double play.
Alvis, who was 8-for-9 for the day with two doubles, three triples and a home run, smashed his second triple of the day in the bottom of the first, and Wood followed with a double. The Devils finished the first inning with a 4-3 lead.
“The second game was a matter of depth,” said Nieslanik.
“They (Eagle Valley) are a great team. They hit well and have a solid defense.”
The Devils will face Basalt at home, where they are undefeated this season, on Tuesday in the first round of the district playoffs. The top three teams (of eight) will move on to Denver.
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What had been scheduled as a multi-team high school girls swim meet at Summit High School on Saturday ended up being a three-way affair due to multiple factors including COVID-19 and transportation issues.