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Baseball: Toppers open district play with big victory over Taos

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By The Staff

Despite a rough start to the season, the Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team can make up for it in District 2AAAA.

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It took the first step in the right direction Wednesday at Bomber Field, knocking off the Taos Tigers 13-6.

Los Alamos scored eight runs in the second inning Wednesday and cruised to victory of the rest of the way. Meanwhile, pitcher Austin Aslin earned the victory on the hill, giving up three earned runs in four innings and striking out seven batters.

The Hilltoppers, the defending District 2AAAA champions, won just one of their first 10 games of the season, all nondistrict affairs, but manager Mike Gill said he felt his team could start pulling itself together right around district time.

“We lost seven starters off last year’s team,” he said. “It’s a matter of getting the younger kids comfortable at the varsity level. Of the seniors we did have coming back, only two of them had a lot of varsity experience.”

Wednesday’s win was actually the second in the Hilltoppers’ last three games. In between, they lost to a solid Moriarty team after leading 4-3 going into the final inning.

In Los Alamos’ second inning, it was able to string together several singles and doubles. The rally was started by Lukas Coker’s lead-off double and Michael Young’s single which moved Coker to third.

Scott Berkebile plated both runners with a single three batters later.

Coker would come in after four innings to finish up the game, allowing just one earned run, striking out five and not walking a batter.

“Right now, our pitching staff is solidified,” Gill said. “They’ve been giving us some quality innings when we need them.”

Gill said the biggest challenge for the team during the 2AAAA season will be playing better defense. The defense has struggled for a good portion of the season so far, but said it too has improved over the course of the last few games.

Next week will be a big week for the Hilltoppers and their potential fortunes in 2AAAA.

The Hilltoppers are slated for a single game against Bernalillo and a big doubleheader with Española Valley, the two teams that will likely give the Hilltoppers the biggest run for their money for a district championship.