Churchill improved, beats Valencia

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Erin Sharpe’s grand slam home run in the bottom of the sixth inning did not match up to four Churchill homers as the Eugene, Ore., school got a 13-10 win in their first game of the season more than 1,400 miles away from home.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: on the way to third base is Valencia shortstop Adrianna Carbajal during Monday’s 13-10 loss to a touring Oregon team.

The Lancers traditionally take a New Mexico trip that includes a major tournament and a few single games. This year, Churchill will be at the Kristen Griego Invitational at Rio Rancho this weekend, as will Valencia and Los Lunas.

Oregon rules allow for eight pre-conference games and all of the Lancers’ games will be played in the Land of Enchantment, far in advance of when most Oregon high schools hit the field.

Churchill got a series of two-run homers to win the game at Valencia, but the runs that gave them the lead for good came off a fielding error in left field that plated two runs and gave the Lancers a 5-2 edge over the Jags. Valencia had seven errors in the game.

The Jaguars responded in the bottom of the third, scoring two runs on Kayla Young’s single to right. The throw from the outfield came into first on the pick off attempt, allowing the second run to cross the plate. Churchill led 5-4.

After scoring two more in the fourth, Kaitlyn Riplinger hit her second homer of the day, a two-run shot over the left field fence. Her first dinger scored all three of the Lancers’ runs in the second.

“Our pitchers didn’t do a very good job,” said Jag coach Jeff Young. “They left the ball up and you can’t do that against very good teams. They capitalized on it.”

Young got her third RBI of the game by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the fourth. Valencia added a run on a sacrifice fly to pull within 9-6.

Danielle Duman hot a two-run homer in the top of the fifth to give Churchill an 11-6 edge.

But the day was not over for Sharpe and the Jaguars. Caroline Lucero drew a walk, Adrianna Carbajal got aboard on another walk, and the runners advanced on a sharp hit to short that was misplayed off the bat of Alisha Vigil.

Sharpe hit a deep fly to left field that glanced off of the top rail of the fence and into the field beyond the fence for a grand slam homer.

“It could have been better. I didn’t get my hands out in time,” said Sharpe. “I was just hoping for my team to keep going.”

It looked like the Jags would only have the one run to make up in the bottom of the final inning, but Sharpe hit Riplinger and then gave up a two-out pinch-hit homer to Kaeleen Kutz.

Valencia went down in order in the bottom of the inning to give Churchill the 13-10 win.


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