Hilltoppers fall in district opener

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By Mike Cote

BERNALILLO — A pitchers’ duel it was not.

In their first of three meetings during the District 2AAAA baseball season, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers and the Bernalillo Spartans slugged it out to the bitter end.

Only a disputed force-out call at second base ended the offensive onslaught in Wednesday’s game, a contest which saw five home runs and 12 extra-base hits.

Bernalillo held on behind laboring pitcher Kellan Quintana to win 13-11 and take the early edge in the 2AAAA race.

The 24 combined runs was hardly what was expected heading into the game.

“It was our best pitcher versus their best pitcher,” Hilltopper Zach Mang said. “I saw them (the Spartans) at the St. Pius tournament and they didn’t hit the ball particularly well...the slugfest kind of came out of nowhere.”

Los Alamos looked all but done in the seventh inning, trailing 13-8 with one out and no one on base, but the excitement was barely reaching its crescendo.

The second batter of the inning, Zakk Walterscheid, hit a sharp single to reach, then was doubled over to third by Michael Helland, who hit a bullet which thudded off the wall in center.

Scott Berkebile, the next batter, hit a high chopper to the shortstop, but the throw to first was five feet too high.

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