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Big rally vaults ’Topper softball to win

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By The Staff

ALBUQUERQUE – Los Alamos’ softball team came up with eight runs in the top of the fifth inning to break open a tight ballgame and earn its district season-opening victory.
The Hilltoppers strung together five straight hits at the top of their batting order to start the fifth Wednesday afternoon at Del Norte High School, including a double by No. 3 hitter Jayde Tucker for the huge rally.
That big inning for the Hilltoppers came just half an inning after Del Norte came up with four runs to tie the score.
Del Norte’s Knights, however, would never recover from the fifth inning and the Hilltoppers would go on to win 15-6.
Los Alamos and Española Valley are expected to duke it out this season for the 2-5A title and a win to start the district season on the road is a good way to start for the Hilltoppers, who were not heading into Wednesday’s game on the highest of notes.
The Hilltoppers (7-6 overall, 1-0 in 2-5A) managed just one win the weekend before at the Kristen Griego Softball Challenge and had been thumped soundly in several recent contests just ahead of the start of district play.
Wednesday’s game was a big one for Los Alamos on offense, particularly at the top of the order. Leadoff hitter Alicia Gonzales went 3-for-5 and scored 4 runs to set the table, while Tucker finished 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and scored three times as well.
Lauren Harris, batting fifth in the order for the Hilltoppers, had a pair of hits Wednesday and scored twice.
Los Alamos went up 4-0 after 2-1/2 innings, but Del Norte (3-8 overall, 0-1 in 2-5A) rallied for four runs to tie the score in the bottom of the fourth. The Knights sent nine batters to the plate, with the big blow of the inning being a home run by Kaylie Leekela.
The Hilltoppers will have their first home games of the season Saturday when they host Academy. The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader was originally set to start at 11 a.m. but that time has been moved up to 9 a.m., while the second game will get going at approximately 11 a.m.
The Hilltoppers are favored in that doubleheader against the Chargers, who have struggled so far this season.
The Chargers also opened up district play Wednesday at Española Valley. The Sundevils blasted the Chargers 16-6 – Academy has won just once in 2017.