Tigers one win away from a district title
One win is all that separates Los Lunas from a District 6-4A title after the Tigers beat up Gallup 10-1 on Tuesday behind Isaac Parra’s dominating performance from the pitching slab.
Parra limited the Bengals to just two hits — both coming in the third inning when he allowed his only run — and struck out 11 without walking a batter. Parra did hit two Bengals and two others reached base on errors, but a sneaky fastball that exploded out of a three-quarters delivery kept Gallup flailing at most pitches.
“A great pitching performance from Isaac,” said Los Lunas coach Pete Candelaria. “They had a hard time hitting him. He threw a great game.”
Parra credited his strong outing to good movement on his fastball.
“It was working a lot better,” Parra said. “I had a lot of movement on my ball. I felt like my speed was up. I kept working them in and out.
“I hit my spots. If I get a little fired up or get mad or something, something just clicks with me and I start throwing harder and harder.”
It doesn’t hurt that his unorthodox delivery makes it difficult for opposing batters, Candelaria said.
“We’ve heard (opposing) coaches tell us that he has a hard pick up on his release,” he said. “It’s real beneficial to him.”
And a lively dugout contributed to Parra’s performance, he said.
“Everyone was hitting the ball and we were actually playing as a team,” Parra said. “We kind of came together and it brought me up. All the guys in the dugout were yelling and being energetic and in the game. That just brings me up and makes me want to be better.”
He’s the type of player that sometimes needs that extra motivation, Candelaria said.
“Isaac is one of those kids that when he gets fired up, he’s hard to hit,” the coach said. “That’s the bottom line. He’s a competitor.”
Los Lunas scratched out a couple of runs early, then grabbed control of the game in the fourth inning with a 4-run rally. Third basemen Justin Yalch delivered the big hit with a double to score two runs.
“I’ve been mentioning how it’s important to be scoring runs and finally in the last three games we’ve been in double digits in runs,” Candelaria said. “As long as we continue to score in double-digits, we’re going to be all right.”
Now the Tigers face a big game Saturday at Miyamura in Gallup, with the district championship and a likely home game in the state-tournament first round on the line for the winner.
“We’ll see how the boys step up,” Candelaria said. “They beat us 3-2 down here. I know the boys are pretty fired up about going down and playing them.”
Winning the district, however, is just one goal for the team, Parra said.
“We got something to pick with them. Hopefully we’ll go out there and have the same team and play like we know how and come back with another win,” he said. “It’s important because it’s a stepping stone for us. We use it as more motivation. If we get this, we get a better seeding for state because we want the big blue trophy and the ring on our fingers. That’s what we’re going for.”