Belen baseball gets road win over Spartans

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Clutch hitting and a nice outing on the mound for Andrew Castillo gave Belen a hard-fought road win over Bernalillo on Tuesday, 4-3.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Belen First baseman Tim Vialpando, right, stretches to try and catch a Bernalillo base runner in the sixth inning of Belen’s 4-3 win at Bernalillo on Tuesday. Vialpando went to the mound in the seventh inning and got the save in relief of Andrew Castillo. Belen is set to host Santa Teresa on Saturday for a double-header beginning at 11 a.m.

The Eagles’ record improves to 5-3 with the win, with Belen returning home to face Santa Teresa for a Saturday double-header.

Start time against the Desert Warriors is slated for 11 a.m. Moriarty visits Belen at 4 p.m., on Tuesday.

It all came down to Tim Vialpando’s bases-clearing triple in the top of the sixth.

With Chris Peralta, C.J. Newey and Jonathan Briscoe all aboard, Vialpando connected and sent the ball to deep left field. When he stopped at third with a satisfying smile, the Eagles had built a 4-1 lead.

The Belen rally was cut short after a controversial call by the home plate umpire.

With runners at first and second after Vialpando had been thrown out at the plate on an attempted squeeze play, Nick Aragon was hit squarely in the back with a pitch.

The umpire ruled that he had not tried to avoid the pitch and Aragon struck out to complete the plate appearance, instead of taking first base.

Neither team scored until the fourth inning.

Belen got on the board first when Briscoe got aboard after being hit by a pitch.

He then stole second and scored on Vialpando’s double to the left. The Eagle first baseman accounted for all four runs batted in for Belen.

The Eagles led 1-0 going into the bottom of the fourth.

Bernalillo got on the board in the fourth inning when Josh Urban came through with a triple against the Belen starter.

Devin Zamora scored after hitting a single to lead off the inning.

Starting pitcher Andrew Castillo shut down Bernalillo to prevent Urban from scoring and Bernalillo from taking the lead.

The score was knotted 1-1 going into the fifth.

The Eagles would need every run as Bernalillo mounted a comeback in the seventh.

The hit-batter controversy would come into play in the home half of the inning.

After Urban walked, Santi Dominguez was hit in the back and turned to take first.

The umpire ruled the play the same way he did against Belen and the batter returned to the plate among the boos and catcalls from the Spartan crowd.

Dominguez eventually walked, moving to second.

That was the afternoon for Castillo as Vialpando moved over from his spot at first base to take over on the hill.

The two walks were the first of the game for Castillo, who struck out five before giving way to Vialpando.

Both Bernalillo base runners would score on Aaron Griffith’s hit past first base to narrow the gap to 4-3.

Vialpando settled down and got the next two Spartans to end the game with Griffith on second base after a steal.


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