’Toppers, Demons split a pair

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Softball > LA comes back to win after struggling in opening game

By Mike Cote

Already sitting two games down in District 2-4A, the Los Alamos Hilltopper softball team knew something had to happen in a hurry Saturday.
Fortunately for the Hilltoppers, something did.
Los Alamos bounced back after dropping the first game of a big early doubleheader against the Santa Fe Demons at Overlook Park. The Demons won a big 8-2 victory in game one, but Los Alamos jumped out to a big lead early and held on through a rough fifth inning to win 11-6.
Earning the split was a big deal for Los Alamos, which could’ve fallen behind three games to the early district leaders, a tough hole to climb out of even with nine games remaining on the schedule.
“For us to have a chance in the district this year, we couldn’t get swept,” Hilltopper manager Roger Anaya said. “We were going to have to hit them hard and take the lead early (in game two).”
Los Alamos did just that, scoring five runs in the bottom of the first.
Emilee Jones had a 2-run home run in the inning and Krysta Salazar and Alyssa Mojica both came through with RBI hits off game one winning pitcher Alex Russell, who also threw game two for the Demons.
Russell, who is just a sophomore but has been Santa Fe’s ace for two years, looked very strong for most of the first game, but seemed to lose some zip off her fastball at the tail-end of the game — the Hilltoppers scored a pair of runs in the sixth inning of that game and got two runners on in the seventh before Russell closed out the win.
In the second game, Los Alamos was able to jump on her early, then tack on another five runs in the bottom of the fourth to go up 11-0.
Salazar, who finished game two going 3-for-4, had a home run in fourth inning to go along with her two doubles. Mojica and Kiana Zerr went 2-for-3 in game two with Zerr pounding out two triples.
Zerr was the losing pitcher in the first game. Santa Fe’s powerful batting order got cooking in the fourth inning. Shortstop Jackie Martinez of the Demons crushed a 2-1 pitch for a 2-run homer to put her team up 3-0 at the time. Martinez had a run-scoring base hit in the fifth inning to give the Demons (7-4 overall, 2-1 in 2-4A) a 6-0 cushion.
Los Alamos (7-10 overall, 1-2 in district) is hardly out of the woods yet, still trailing Bernalillo and Santa Fe in the standings, but Anaya said he likes his team’s chances to sweep its three district games — against Española Valley and Capital — coming up this week.