LA nipped by Bernalillo in opener of District 2-4A, 1-0

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Softball > Zerr goes the distance, gives up just 1 run

By Mike Cote

The undisputed premier player in District 2-4A is Demi Madalena.
But for most of Wednesday’s game, Kiana Zerr was her equal.
It was an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel in Overlook Park in the district softball opener for the Los Alamos Hilltoppers and the Bernalillo Spartans.
Madalena, the fireball-throwing right-hander for the Spartans, mowed through the Hilltopper lineup for seven innings. However, Zerr was up to the challenge, scattering just five hits through seven innings.
Unfortunately for Zerr and the Hilltoppers, they took a hard-fought 1-0 loss to the Spartans.
The difference in the game was Madalena’s bat. Madalena lined a lead-off double into left-center in the fourth inning. That hit would eventually lead to the only run of the ballgame.
Following Madalena’s double — one of the few balls that was well hit all day — she was lifted for pinch runner Heather Rosetta. Rosetta moved to third on a groundout, then came around to score after a running catch in right field by Los Alamos’ Hannah Mojica.
Mojica, who was running toward the infield to catch Frankie Montaño’s line drive, threw a one-hopper to the plate to try to retire Rosetta, but the throw was a hair off line and Rosetta was able to slide in safely.
Los Alamos’ only real scoring threat against Madalena came in the bottom of that inning. Los Alamos’ Alyssa Mojica and Krysta Salazar got on board with back-to-back hits to lead off the bottom of the fourth, both going through a nearly identical spot on the left side of the infield.
Mojica was changed out for pinch runner Holly Aikin after getting aboard. Aikin then tried to advance on a passed ball that got away from Bernalillo catcher Danielle Cordova, but Cordova threw a bullet to third base to cut Aikin down, a play that proved huge for the Spartans to preserve the win. Salazar finished the inning stranded on second after Madalena punched out the final two batters.
For the game, Madalena fanned 14 batters, at least two in every inning but the sixth. She allowed four hits in the contest, but none after the fourth, and pitched around a pair of errors in the third inning.
With their win, the Spartans (8-3 overall, 1-0 in 2-4A) take early control of what could be a tight district race. The Hilltoppers and Spartans will meet twice more this season in a doubleheader April 19 in Bernalillo.
Wednesday was also the start of district play for the Santa Fe Demons and the Española Valley Sundevils. The teams met in Santa Fe with the Demons (6-3) earning a crushing 12-1 victory over the Sundevils (6-4).
Los Alamos will host Santa Fe in a doubleheader Saturday.