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LA clinches sixth 2-4A crown

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By Mike Cote

They are officially in the Class 4A postseason. The trick might now be to stop them.
The Los Alamos Hilltoppers are the 2014 District 2-4A champions in baseball and are among the hottest teams in the state. Los Alamos clinched its sixth consecutive district title Saturday with a decisive 11-1 victory over the Española Valley Sundevils at Bomber Field.
To clinch, Los Alamos closed out game one of the doubleheader the way it opened game one: with a big rally.
With the Hilltoppers up 6-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, they scored five times to pick up the victory and the district crown.
Left fielder Chris Funk drove a single into right on a hit-and-run play, knocking in a pair of runs to close out the contest.
“My plan was just to execute that, swing at that pitch,” Funk said. “I was just trying to get hard contact on the ground, like coach tells us to do, and it turned out to be the game-winning hit.”
Going into Saturday’s play, the Sundevils were the only team with a mathematical shot at ending the Hilltoppers’ chokehold on 2-4A. The Sundevils and Hilltoppers played a tight contest in Española earlier this month which Los Alamos won 3-2 with a late home run by Colin Kitts.
Los Alamos was expecting more of the same Saturday, but got some early breathing room, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first. Los Alamos sent 9 batters to the plate – the third time in six innings, going back to Wednesday, that the Hilltoppers have batted around – and got back-to-back run-scoring doubles from Jake Downs and Jared Mang to start things off.
Mang also picked up the win on the mound in Saturday’s game one. He went the distance, and in an efficient manner, needing just 65 pitches to get through six innings, allowing just three hits and retiring 11 of the last 12 batters he faced.
Los Alamos completed the sweep of the Sundevils (16-8 overall, 7-3 in 2-4A) with a 9-0 win in game two.
The Hilltoppers scored five times in the second inning of game two, then tacked on three more in the sixth to put the contest to bed and extend their current winning streak to 13 games.
Along with the district title, Los Alamos (19-6, 11-0 in 2-4A) also assured itself of a Class 4A playoff berth.