KMTS BASEBALL: Glenwood Moves Into Playoff Position with Sweep in Eagle

GYPSUM (4/28/12) — What Carder Ullom didn\’t know hurt Eagle Valley as the Glenwood junior belted a two-run home run in the 9th inning to cap an improbable 13-10 comeback from a 9-0 deficit in the first game of a doubleheader sweep at Eagle Valley. The extra-inning dramatics, along with Cody Derby\’s 13-strikeout performance in a 3-1 second game win, give the Demons a good chance at earning the Western Slope League\’s third playoff position — and even the possibility of wresting the second spot from Delta.

“We couldn\’t touch that first guy,” Ullom said of Eagle\’s first-game starter, Tanner Coulter, who was inexplicably pulled with a 9-0 lead, after five innings and just 65 pitches. Six-five sophomore Travis Edgar replaced Coulter, and Jon Forristall pounded his second pitch into right for a double; Derby followed with a double to left, and five hits, three errors, and a third Devil pitcher later, the score was tied.

“We were close to being 10-runned (the “mercy” rule ending a game after 5 innings with a ten-run lead),” coach Eric Nieslanik said. “Everybody contributed to the comeback.”

The contributions started with Cole Ryan throwing out what could have been the “mercy rule” runner at second base to end the Devil 5th. In the last of the seventh, with starting pitcher Robert Reynolds still on the mound, one out and a runner on first, left-handed hitting Wade Ticer sliced a drive to left that looked like it might end the game until Pete Ray made a diving catch. “I misjudged it, but I guess I made up for it,” Ray said, to the uproarious delight of his teammates gathered in front of the dugout between games. “Pete laid out (for the ball) and kept us in it,” Nieslanik agreed.

In the top of the 8th, Coulter, who had to be disgusted, watching his 9-0 certain victory evaporate, was reinserted on the mound and quickly restored order, retiring the first two hitters. Then Ryan blasted a drive about 360 feet over the right-centerfield fence for a 10-9 Demon lead that wouldn\’t survive the home half of the inning.

A single and an error put Austin Ellsworth on second, and Juan Baca\’s base hit tied the score. But Eagle Valley wasn\’t finished, as Coulter singled and Reynolds hit the next batter to load the bases with one out. With his 114th pitch, Reynolds, just returned to action from a bout with mono, struck out a pinch hitter then made a baseball-wise play to save the game. Reece Ellsworth lined a one-hopper to Forristall at first, who knocked the ball down, but it rolled toward second as Ellsworth neared the bag. Reynolds alertly had headed toward first and took the throw in time to end the inning.

Tim Burr led off the ninth with his fourth straight hit, and Ullom hit his first home run of the season, taking Coulter’s high fastball over the right-center field fence, giving Glenwood a two run lead. After the game, Ullom admitted he didn\’t realize the home run was off the same pitcher who had struck him out earlier in the game. Ray then drilled his third hit of the game, stole second and came home on Forristall\’s second double for a 13-10 lead.

Reynolds confessed he was tired but, “I saw those hits coming, and it pumped me back up. Coach told us to keep fighting. We were gonna be tired for prom anyway, so we might as well be tired from a win.” And in the bottom of the ninth, Reynolds earned his fourth win in five decisions, striking out the last two hitters and finishing with 127 pitches.

Ullom, Derby, and Ryan each had 3 RBI\’s in the game.

The second game took a different track as Glenwood scored in the first on singles by Derby and Reynolds, and in the second on Ray\’s single and a throwing error as Scott Hayden stole second. Derby, meanwhile, was walking a tightrope, loading the bases on a double and two walks in the fourth while striking out the side. A double by Forristall and another Eagle error in the last of the 4th led to a 3-0 lead for the Demons.

Derby continued to struggle with his control, but complimented his outfielders as first Burr and then Hayden made run-saving catches to help Glenwood maintain its 3-1 lead. Derby walked Coulter leading off the seventh inning, his 7th pass of the game, but Ryan cut him down trying to steal, and Derby struck out the final two hitters to improve his record to 3-3 and conclude the 139-pitch complete game.

Burr had five hits in the doubleheader, and Derby, Ray, and Forristall each had four.

“We put together a pretty good day,” Nieslanik said as the Demons (7-9, 6-4 WSL) broke a third place tie with the Devils (8-8, 4-6). Steamboat Springs (8-7, 4-4) played last place Moffat County (2-9, 1-7, and Glenwood\’s final league opponent next Saturday), but will face undefeated Palisade (14-2, 9-0) to wrap up the WSL season. Delta (9-7, 6-3) hosts Palisade Tuesday before finishing with a doubleheader at Eagle Valley.