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Baseball: Toppers knock off Tigers in five

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By Mike Cote

TAOS — A seven-run fifth inning by the Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team turned a tight game into a mercy-rule affair Wednesday.Los Alamos sent 12 batters to the plate in the top of the fifth against Taos Wednesday in the District 2AAAA opener for both schools. Los Alamos used five singles and four walks to push the seven runs across to win 10-0 in five innings.Wednesday’s win was the third in four outings for the Hilltoppers (5-9, 1-0 in district) and the biggest win of the season to date.Zak Walterscheid went the full five innings for the win against Taos (9-5-1, 0-1 in district), scattering five hits over the five innings.In the top of the fifth, left fielder Eli Pulliam and Walterscheid opened with back-to-back base hits. Two batters later, third baseman Michael Helland singled to load the bases. The next batter, right fielder Ryan Schelft singled home Pulliam and Walterscheid to give the Hilltoppers a 5-0 edge.In the inning, Los Alamos chased starting Taos pitcher Jim Armijo, who had been efficient in the previous four innings. Josh Yachinich finished off the inning in replace of Armijo.Following a walk to shortstop Jack Russell, Jeremy Kasik, batting in the nine-spot, came through with a base hit to drive in Helland and Schleft. Russell, Kasik and Zach Mang would all come around before the inning was through.Prior to the fifth, Los Alamos pushed two runs across in the top of the first and another in the third.Mang, who led off the game with a double, and Adam Eberhart scored in the top of the first on RBI base hits from Walterscheid and Helland.Armijo allowed just one more run before the fifth to keep the Tigers in the game, but the Tigers’ only real threat to get on the board — they loaded the bases with no outs in the third — was quelched with three straight strikeouts by Walterscheid.Walterscheid fanned seven batters in the contest and walked just two.Mang went 2-for-3 with a two runs scored Wednesday, and Helland was 2-for-3 with a RBI and a run scored.Los Alamos plays a district doubleheader at Española Valley Saturday before its home district opener against Capital April 16.