Los Lunas outplays Valencia for a 6-1 win

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Charles Holt tossed a four-hit complete game as the Los Lunas baseball team dispatched rival Valencia 6-1 on Saturday afternoon.

Chris Jackson-News-Bulletin photo: Valencia’s Chris Waltman, left, waits in the on-deck circle while Los Lunas’ Charles Holt, right back, prepares to throw a pitch during the seventh inning of the Tigers’ 6-1 victory.

“Our pitching’s been spectacular all year long,” Tigers coach Pete Candelaria said. “Our pitchers are throwing the full game, I’m not having to relieve them and they’re keeping hitters off-balance.”

The host Tigers (15-5, 3-1 District 6-4A) needed a bounce-back victory after falling 3-2 to Miyamura on April 9, knocking them out of a tie for first place in the district.

“It was good that they responded the way they did,” Candelaria said. “It was kind of a tough loss for us. But when you don’t come out to play the game anybody can beat you at any given time. That’s what happened that day.”

Despite Los Lunas’ solid overall record, Candelaria said he’s always felt something was missing from his team, something that he finally saw on Saturday.

“We haven’t been too motivated at all this season,” Candelaria said. “Finally today there was a little spark. Yeah, I think it was the little in-town rivalries that we have, I think it gives them a little bit more spark.”

The Jaguars (5-13, 1-3) struck first in the second inning. Anthony Gonzales walked, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on Jose Galaviz’s single. Gonzales ended up scoring on a throwing error.

Nate Abeita responded for Los Lunas with a leadoff home run in the third inning. After that, Valencia’s defense started to fall apart.

An error by shortstop Tyler Klein allowed Charles Holt to reach safely with one out. He came around to score two batters later on Darron Gallegos’ double to left field, putting the Tigers ahead 2-1.

After that, Jaguars coach Carlos Carrasco said that he could see the fight go out of his team.

“We gave up a home run and then the wheels came off,” Carrasco said. “We got that defeated look in our eyes and they took advantage of it. A good team like that, you’ve got to continue to fight and continue to grind and we didn’t.”

Los Lunas tacked on insurance runs in the fourth on Dakota Wood’s two-out, RBI double and Holt’s RBI single through the left side.

Isaac Parra added an RBI double in the fifth and later scored on an error by right fielder Damian Padilla.

“We lack the toughness to … when we get punched in the face, to come back and punch them back,” Carrasco said. “We’re kind of just taking it and taking it; that’s something we have to learn.

“We need to learn that not all the time we’re going to be ahead. Today was the first time that I saw us defeated when we still had plenty of game left.”

Abeita led the Tigers at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a double and the solo homer.

“We need to have more offensive production (going forward),” Candelaria said. “Once we get our offense going I think we’re going to be fine.”