Gallup Bengals trounce Belen in district softball opener

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After showing early season improvement, Belen might find it a little tougher if Tuesday's 16-1 loss at Gallup is any indication of how the district 6-4A slate might play out.

First-year coach Ray Valerio noted that three of the top Class 4A teams in the state, Miyamura, Los Lunas and Valencia, reside in this district.

Belen will face Valencia next in the first meeting of the county rivals this season. First pitch for the Saturday game at the Eagle's Nest is slated for 11 a.m.

In Tuesday's loss, Valerio said his team acted a little star-struck.

"We just can't go up there and strike out people," said Valerio. "When they hit and we don't make a play, then it really hurts."

Belen was actually briefly ahead when Alex Baca hit a first-inning solo home run. It would be the only hit of the game for the Eagles.

"We hit the ball in the first inning and looked confident up there," said Valerio. "The errors started coming after that. We have to get more experience."

Gallup also had a 3-1 lead after the first and finished the game off in the fourth with seven runs.

"They hit the heck out of the ball and we had six errors," said Valerio, summing up the difficult day.

"It was more throwing errors than anything. We should not have given up so many runs on errors. It should have been 5-1 in the third inning."