Belen loses to Miyamura

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The Belen baseball team had one comeback in them Tuesday. But the Eagles couldn’t manage two.

Glen Rosales-News-Bulletin photo: Belen’s Nick Kurtz pops out to shortstop in what turned out to be a game-ending double play Tuesday as the Eagles lost 15-11 to Miyamura.

Belen spotted Miyamura seven runs in the first inning and by the fifth inning the Eagles had erased all of that deficit and even briefly surged into the lead.

But they could not stand prosperity, giving up five runs in the sixth to lose 15-11.

“I just told our guys that I was proud of the fact that usually when teams get down 7-0 and that’s the ballgame, especially in the top of the first,” Eagles coach Steve Contreras said. “But we battled back.”

The Eagles’ coaches immediately delivered a little pep talk after finally emerging from the first inning in which the first seven Patriots’ batters reached base and eventually scored.

“We came in after that first inning and told the guys, ‘Hey we still have seven at bats. Let’s just get one or two at a time. And sure enough we did, and in the fifth inning we took the lead.”

Belen (10-12, 4-5 in District 6-4A) scored three in its half of the first and added another 3-spot in the second before tying it at 10-all in the fifth with a 4-run splurge.

Gabriel Lucero had the big hit in the tying rally with a 2-RBI double to right-center.

In a way, the big early deficit was something of a blessing for the Eagles, the coach said.

“Once we were down 7-0, we got relaxed,” Conteras said. “We faced the same pitcher that beat us 5-0 just a couple of weeks ago. For some reason we were able to hit the ball real well. Credit to our guys. Instead of just giving up they fought back and made a game of it.”

The Eagles used a 2-out rally in the fifth to take their only lead after Timmy Vialpando singled – one of his three on the day – then came around to score when CJ Newey’s single to right went through right fielder Austin Evans’ legs.

Belen, however, could not retain the lead as too many walks and errors proved to be critical.

“The game got tight and they got tight,” Conteras said. “Lead-off walks almost always are going to score every time. And lots of errors, and the errors came once we took the lead. Our guys — we have such a young team — we have a chance to win the game and instead we’re having communication problems. On the boys’ behalf, it wasn’t due to lack of effort.”

Still, the loss hurts since this was an important game in terms of building a strong argument for inclusion in the state tournament.

“We have to be able to pull out some of these,” Contreras said. “This was kind of a big game for state tournament reasons, so we’ll see what happens.

“Basically I think we’re already in, but this would have guaranteed us a spot. This would have secured us third place in our district at the very worst. It would have tied us with them for second with one game to go. It would have pretty much guaranteed us a spot.”

The New Mexico Activities Association selection committee will announce its selections and seedings on Sunday following the Eagles’ final home game Friday against Los Lunas — a game that looms even larger now.

“We got one more game to go and we’ll see what happens,” Conteras said. “If we win that one, we’ll guarantee ourselves a spot, I would assume, but you never know what that committee is going to come up with.”