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BERNALILLO — Heading into game one of Saturday’s doubleheader, the pressure was squarely on the shoulders of the Los Alamos Hilltoppers.
Following Saturday’s action, however, the pressure is on the rest of District 2-4A to catch them.
The Hilltopper softball team earned two huge victories Saturday in Bernalillo, knocking off the Bernalillo Spartans, who had to be going into Saturday the district favorites. Instead, the Hilltoppers earned a wild 8-5 victory in the opener and picked up a 6-0 shutout in the second game.
Los Alamos’ Monika Teter pitched and won both ends of the doubleheader, going the distance in both outings against one of the top offensive clubs in 4A. The Spartans had come in averaging nearly 14 runs per game and had lost just once on the season to a very good Class 5A team in Rio Rancho.
Things looked a bit hairy for Los Alamos midway through the first ballgame with Bernalillo going up 2-0 after four innings and hitting the ball very hard off Teter in the fourth.
Los Alamos scraped together a run in the top of the fifth but Bernalillo looked to be cooking something up in the bottom of the fifth before a big putout at the plate changed the entire complexion of the game and carry Los Alamos into game two.
Following a RBI triple from Ariel Archuleta, Los Alamos left fielder Emily Lucero caught a medium-depth fly ball by the Spartans’ next batter Claudia Delara and delivered a strike to home plate. Micaela Christensen, making her first start of the season at catcher, blocked the plate ahead of Archuleta and hung on to Lucero’s throw despite a big collision at home, putting Archuleta out.
The play not only saved a run during a critical stretch of the contest, but got Los Alamos’ dugout fired up heading into its final two at-bats. Los Alamos scored seven runs in the last two innings and held on despite committing three errors in the bottom of the seventh to win.
That putout at home didn’t come by happenstance.
“The thing about it is we’ve spent quite a bit of time with our outfielders…working on that,” Los Alamos manager Roger Anaya said. “We gave them situations where we needed them to throw a player out at home. Emily made a great throw, right on target.”
In the top of the sixth, Kiana Zerr doubled the bases clear and Kristin Christensen had a RBI single to give the Hilltoppers a 5-3 lead, which they expanded to 8-3 by tacking on two more runs in the seventh off Bernalillo freshman pitcher Bella Navarro.
Navarro threw an outstanding game for Bernalillo (8-3 overall, 0-2 in 2-4A) up until the late innings when she started to run out gas and the Hilltopper offense took advantage.
Teter, meanwhile, struck out nine batters to claim the game one win. In game two, Teter scattered five hits over seven innings and fanned six. She needed fewer than 90 pitches to close out the second game after tossing nearly 120 in game one.
The nightcap was close until Los Alamos (7-4 overall, 2-0 in 2-4A) scored three runs in the top of the fifth of Bernalillo pitcher Gabby Montaño. Designated hitter Alyssa Mojica hit a bloop single that scored two runs in the inning.
Kristin Christensen, who went 2-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored in game one, reached base all four times she went to the plate in game two. Zerr finished game one with four RBI and scored a run.