Eagles make four errors in loss on road at Artesia

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The young lineup of the Belen High baseball team can hit, and can run. But in Thursday's 8-5 loss to the host school in the first round of the Artesia Invitational, the Eagle defense was the area where Belen looked the youngest.

The Eagles committed four errors in the loss, which made BHS on the season. It bumped the Eagles to the consolation side of the Artesia bracket. They were set to take on Austin, an El Paso-area team, in Friday's second round, and will face either Farmington High or Roswell High in Saturday's tourney finale.

"We aren't going to win many games that way," said Belen coach Steve Contreras, referring to the four errors. "We had a rundown where we had a bad throw, and some other silly mistakes. We started four sophomores Thursday, so there are going to be some growing pains.

Artesia, a senior-loaded team, cranked out 12 hits. Hunter Blaylock (0-2) started and took the loss. He was relieved by Troy Chavez in the sixth inning.

Contreras said winds were blowing 30 to 40 miles per hour at the start of Thursday night's game. The winds mellowed, but it was a cold evening.

Belen was down 8-3 in its final at-bat in the top of the seventh. The Eagles put two runs on the board in that frame, and had two runners on base with the tying run at the plate, but couldn't score again.

Blaylock and C.J. Newey each had two hits in the game, and Andrew Castillo was 1-for-3 with a double. Contreras said while his team is speedy, Artesia (1-0) is both fast and experienced, and Thursday's game was played on a new all-turf field.

The Eagles travel to the Farmington Invite next week for three games. They'll face Durango (Colo.) in a first-round game Thursday at 10:30 a.m.


-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.