Stevens gets a second chance
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Redemption came in the form of a walk-off home run for Glenwood Springs’ Chance Stevens.The big right-hander, who coughed up a three-run lead on the mound in the top of the seventh inning, roped a two-run homer over the left-center field wall in the bottom of the inning to lift the Demons to a 9-8 baseball victory over visiting Eagle Valley on Thursday.”Oh my goodness, that was crazy,” a relieved Eric Nieslanik said after the game. “I’ve got like 8,000 things going through my mind right now.”Though he had never before hit a walk-off shot and enjoyed the moment, Stevens said he would much rather have preserved the lead with his arm. Bottom line, he was just happy Glenwood escaped victorious.
“It was a pretty big rush,” he said. “I had a lot of anger going into that inning. That was too close for comfort. We don’t like to do that. We don’t want to make it a habit.”Stevens spelled starting pitcher Beau Chicoine after four innings and limited the Devils to virtually nothing offensively until the seventh, when four walks, two errors and a wild pitch led to a four-run rally and the dissipation of a 7-4 Glenwood Springs’ lead.”We definitely complicated things a bit,” Nieslanik said. “Chance is a very competitive kid. I knew he was upset. We knew he’d put in his best effort for sure. With Beau and Chance leading off, that was the perfect situation for us.”Chicoine allowed four runs on five hits – including a two-run home run to Nick Whitehead in a four-run third – in four innings, so he was primed to redeem himself in leading off the fateful seventh. He did just that by working a walk.
That set the table for Stevens’ blast, which came on a 1-0 pitch from Eagle Valley ace Dan McKernan.It wasn’t the first time Glenwood fought back in this one.After watching a 3-0 lead turn into a 4-3 deficit in the top of the third, the Demons scratched out three runs in the bottom of the frame. Stevens and Tyler Larsen rapped RBI singles to highlight the rally, while another run scored on a wild pitch.Glenwood chased Eagle Valley starter Ryan McClintock from the game after 2/3 innings, tagging him for three runs on two hits and two walks.
McKernan, one of the Devils’ aces, came on in relief and finished off the game.”He just came in and settled us down,” Eagle Valley coach Ken Reagan. “He threw a great game. He threw strikes.”Chicoine ended the day 3-for-3 with an RBI for Glenwood, while Stevens was 2-for-3. Tim Cashel also chipped in on offense with a sixth-inning RBI single.Whitehead finished up 2-for-3 for Eagle Valley. Alex Dorothy matched Whitehead’s 2-for-3 day and Bear Barkman had a double.”You know it’s a tough one,” Reagan said of the dramatic defeat. “When you come out and don’t hit in five of seven innings, you don’t expect to get any runs. We did a good job of coming through with four runs at the end. That was huge.”
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