CALLERY — Jimmy Devine wakes up after one day’s rest and normally feels terrible.
Something felt different Friday.
After pitching seven innings in Game 3 of the Eagle County baseball championship series Thursday, Devine felt good.
He asked Mars manager Brendan Malone if he could start Game 5 Saturday.
Malone wanted to protect Devine and started Brian Zima.
When Zima got into trouble, Devine got the call.
Then he shut the door on Mars II, throwing 5 1/3 scoreless innings in a 7-3 series-clinching win at Callery Field. It marked the fifth consecutive title for Mars. Devine threw 5 2/3 innings and struck out seven.
Feeling so good was more of a surprise.
Devine, 24, struggled with right elbow issues through college, and has eight screws around his right elbow and a large scar.
“You’re so used to feeling bad when you wake up, that when you’re not feeling bad, I you guess ‘I’m feeling good,’” Devine said.
There was no surprise Devine, who picked up the win on the mound in all three of Mars’ wins, was named the series’ most valuable player.
Mars manager Brendan Malone loves Devine’s attitude.
“He was begging me last night to start tonight,” Malone said. “He doesn’t have to pitch again until next May, so he’ll need all that time to get healthy.”
Mars II’s early offense had it looking primed to topple the Mars’ dynasty. Tim Geibel drew a one-out walk off Zima in the first. Gabe Stephenson then singled and an error advanced him to second and Geibel to third.
Trent Smith grounded out to score Geibel and Evan Oswald made it 2-0 with an RBI single.
Mars II had the bases loaded with one out in the second when Devine came in.
After allowing Geibel to drive in a run with a sacrifice fly, Devine struck out Stephenson to end the inning.
Malone knew all Mars had to do was get its offense going.
“We came out very tight,” Malone said. “We weren’t very worried. We knew we were going to hit eventually. We did. We’re winners, we won five straight championships. What can I say? We expect to win.”
After Josh Weinstein and John Tavares opened the third with hits off C.J. Weigand, Malone belted a home run to right field. Brett Spithaler scored on a fielder’s choice later in the inning to put Mars ahead 4-3.