WEB EXCLUSIVE: Jags take Dist. 6-4A softball lead with 4-2 in at Los Lunas
LOS LUNAS – Valencia pitcher Amber Baca scattered five hits and the visiting Jaguars were able to keep host Los Lunas off balance at the plate to earn a crucial District 6-4A 4-2 win at Tiger Field in Los Lunas Friday afternoon.
The Jaguars moved to 12-7 on the season, 4-0 in district while the Tigers suffered their first league loss of the season, falling to 2-1, 11-7 overall.
“That’s a great team, Los Lunas is a great team,” said VHS coach Jeff Young. “We didn’t expect anything less (than a battle).”
Valencia managed nine hits and scored runs in the first, third, fourth and fifth innings while Baca kept Los Lunas hitless through three innings. The Tigers left runners on the bases in four of the first five innings.
Up 2-0 in the top of the third inning after Erin Sharpe scored from first on a single up the middle by Kayla Young, the Jaguars nearly broke the game open later on the inning when VHS loaded the bases. But LLHS pitcher Angela Duran fanned Miranda Connelly to end the inning and the threat.
The Tigers finally broke through on the scoreboard in the sixth inning, when junior Vivian Lueras scored after a fielding error and junior Anallese Medeiros scored off a single by Camile LePorte on at-bat later to cut the Jags’ lead to 4-2.
“In the sixth we made the throwing error that cost us two runs and I just called a time out and told them ‘Don’t panic. We’re fine. Let’s just focus,’” said Young.
In the seventh inning, Los Lunas got runners on base when Deanna Zamora led off with a single and Miranda Jaramillo reached on a walk to put the tying run on base. But Baca struck out the next two batters then got Lueras to hit a ground out to end the game.
“We made a few misyakes and they were able to capitalize,” said LLHS coach Paul Cieremans. “Valencia’s a good team. I expected them to be tough. Out girls are young. We’re not a seasoned team but we’re getting there.
“I’m not happy with the outcome but I’m happy that they battled back,” he said.
Young said the win was big, particularly since his team suffered through some close losses in the pre-district portion of the season.
“Its big for us and big for our confidence,” he said. “Our kids are having to learn how to win these kinds of games. ‘Just keep fighting.’ That’s what we tell the kids.”