Los Lunas girls rolling, even without Gabaldon

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Los Lunas junior Angela Duran has picked up virtually where D'Ana Gabaldon left off.

Gabaldon is one of the seven seniors on the Los Lunas softball team who was thought to be in good position to help win a state title. The hurler broke her ankle and is out for the rest of her senior year.

But there was not panic in the Lady Tiger camp. Duran has proved to be every bit as much a work horse as Gabaldon was, pitching every inning for Los Lunas, including two wins over Class 5A Albuquerque schools this week.

Duran struck out five in a convincing 11-5 win over Valley on Tuesday at the Los Lunas field. She then struck out five Sandia batters in the Tigers' 11-0 win at the Matadors' home park on Thursday.

The Tiger hurler has moved her record to 8-2 to lead Los Lunas to a 9-3 season mark.

Nikki Hathoot was instrumental in both wins after joining the team this past week after basketball season concluded with a state championship.

The senior hit a lead-off homer in the third inning against Sandia and scored a run in the pivotal seven-run fourth.

Jackie Jiron homered to start the fourth inning scoring onslaught. Moody doubled home two runs before Jacklynn Sanchez hit a home run to score Moody.

Against Valley, Hathoot started the three-run fifth inning rally that saw Los Lunas extend a 3-1 lead to 7-1. She singled, moved to third on Cienna Thompson's single, and scored on Mykayla Moody's double.

Valley scored 3 in the sixth, to narrow the gap, 7-4. Hathoot struck again in the bottom of the inning by reaching on an error. She scored on Jerrica Chavez's double, as the Tigers scored four runs to put the game away.

Los Lunas is in this weekend's prestigious Kristen Griego Invite, to be held at Rio Rancho. The Tigers faced Rio Grande in a game that started after the News-Bulletin press time.

Valencia is also in the Griego invite, as are District 6-4A foes Gallup and Miyamura.

The district slate begins next week with Los Lunas visiting Grants on Tuesday, and hosting Gallup at 11 a.m. on Saturday.


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