WEB EXCLUSIVE: Tigers tamed by Goddard in state softball
LOS LUNAS – It was one and done for the Los Lunas Tigers softball team Friday evening as they fell in the first round of the Class 4A State Softball Tournament 5-2 to the Goddard Rockets.
The home team went into the game at 20-6, a season record Coach Paul Cieremans says is nothing to sneeze at.
“We had 20 wins this year, which is a great season. We grew a lot, did more than we expected,” Cieremans said. “Our seniors, Amanda (Gonzales), Angela (Duran) and Jackie (Jiron), did a great job leading the team. I’m very proud of these girls.”
If last night’s game had been based simply on season records and seeds, the Tigers would have taken home the win going up against the Rockets’ 14-12 record and No. 11 seed to their 6.
“We should have beat them,” the coach said.
Through out the game, the Tigers did a good job getting on base, Cieremans said, but “didn’t cash in on the runs. In every inning we were in scoring position. We left runs on the bases.”
Goddard stepped out quickly racking up two runs in each of the first two innings. The Tigers’ were able to hold Goddard to four scoreless innings, before the Rockets knocked in another on in the top of the seventh.
Unfortunately the Los Lunas bats didn’t begin to come alive until the bottom fifth and even then it was only for one run, followed by their second at the end of the sixth inning.
In the second, the Tigers had runners on first and third with two outs, but a soft hit by junior Samantha Lucero to Goddard’s first base sealed the deal and sent Los Lunas back out to the field. On Goddard’s at bat in the top of the third, it was three up and three down, putting the Tigers in the position to score once again.
Unfortunately their first three at bats didn’t fare any better, so the Rockets were back in the box. The Los Lunas defense shut them down with pop-fly catches by center fielder sophomore Deanna Zamora, left fielder junior Camille LaPorte and junior Samantha Lucero at short stop.
In the fourth, LaPorte got on base with a single and junior Analyssa Lopez’s walk pushed her around. Zamora was up next, but a hit to the Goddard’s short stop sat her back down.
With LaPorte on the move to third, the Rockets almost caught her in a double play on her trip back to second, but the umpires called her safe after a brief protest by the Goddard coaching staff.
Freshman Miranda Jaramillo grounded out to third to end the inning, with runners still stalled on first and second.
At their fifth at bat, Lucero started things off with a double and junior Vivian Lueras followed that with a single, giving the Tigers runners on first and third, within striking distance of a run.
Gonzales stepped up and got a big hit deep into center field that the Rockets managed to snag, but it was enough to get Lucero home for the Tiger’s first run of the night. With Lueras still holding tight on first, junior Analiese Medeiros faced the Goddard pitcher but couldn’t connect.
With two out, Duran got a walk but LaPorte followed with a pop-fly to second, ending the inning.
Going into the sixth, Goddard managed to get one of four batters on base but again the Tigers’ defense shut them down.
Lopez led off the Tigers at the plate with a grounder to second base. First base missed the throw, giving Lopez the chance to round to second. Zamora’s hit also went to third but once again, Goddard fumbled the throw at first, and Zamora settled in at first base while Lopez advanced to third.
With two on and one out, freshman Miranda Jaramillo came up to bat. A pop-fly to Goddard’s center fielder stopped her run and a successful throw to the Rockets’ short stop took out Zamora, but that didn’t stop Lopez from crossing the plate, giving the Tigers their second and final run of the game.
The Rockets buckled down and put in another run at the top of the final inning before the Tigers took the field back.
Gonzales hit a grounder to Goddard’s short stop, which she bobbled, putting Gonzales on first. Sophomore Hannah Wood hit a high pop-fly that Goddard’s catcher took care of, for the Tiger’s first out and Duran had a repeat performance but this time with the Rockets’ pitcher.
With a runner on first, LaPorte was the final Tiger at the plate but she could not connect.
“We left a couple of pitches up in the first, had a couple of errors in the second. We hit a lot of pop flies,” coach Cieremans said. “You have to give credit to Goddard. They took advantage of their hits, their pitcher was hitting her spots. Angela had a couple of errors in the second inning but then settled down and pitched really well in the third through seventh. And we just didn’t hit very hard.”
While the team is losing two key players at the end of this season – their catcher in Gonzales and pitcher Duran, Cieremans said the loss of the three seniors won’t be a detrimental as the loss of the seven they were hit with last year.
“This was a rebuild year. Considering that, I think we surprised a few teams this season,” he said. “I told the returning players to play this summer, practice and get better. Hold their heads high, there’s no shame in how we did.”