LA topped by Santa Fe, 11-4

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By Mike Cote

It didn’t take long for the Los Alamos Hilltopper softball team to jump out to a lead Wednesday.

And it didn’t take much longer for the Santa Fe Demons to break the game open.

Los Alamos put up two runs in its first at-bat in Wednesday’s nondistrict contest off solid Santa Fe pitcher Mel Chavez. But Santa Fe bounced right back in its next at-bat to put up four runs and take the lead for good.

The Demons never let go of the momentum, winning 11-4 at Overlook Park.

Chavez, meanwhile, wouldn’t surrender another run until the bottom of the sixth with her team having already given her a big cushion to work with. Chavez seemed to settle down after Los Alamos got three hits off her in the bottom of the first and started mixing up her pitch speeds effectively.

“She had a lot of good off-speed,” Hilltopper manager Roger Anaya said. “Our girls haven’t seen much off-speed this year. She didn’t walk that many, either. We hit the ball well, but we still left some runners on base. But we had some solid hits.”

In the first, starting pitcher Stephanie Abney doubled to center field. The next batter, clean-up hitter Nyleen Cook singled in Abney’s courtesy runner, Kristina Radosevich, to put the Hilltoppers up 2-0. Second baseman Shauni Williams scored on the back end of a double steal with Abney at the plate to break the scoreless tie.

Santa Fe would bounce right back with four runs in the top of the second, getting a pair of hits and taking advantage of two Los Alamos errors.

The damage in the second might have been worse if not for a tag-out, throw-out double play by Williams early in the inning.

Los Alamos had an off-day on defense, committing six miscues.

Chavez, meanwhile, hunkered in after the first inning to retire six of the next seven batters she faced. Chavez got ahead of most of Los Alamos’ hitters with fastballs, then could use her change-up to maximum effect.

Chavez threw a complete game, giving up just one earned run and striking out eight.

Santa Fe’s Moni Rivera and Lauren Salazar hit back-to-back doubles to open the third inning, knocking Abney out of the game after 2-1/3 innings pitched.

Monika Teter, who came in Tuesday to close out a win against Pojoaque, finished the contest for the Hilltoppers.

For Los Alamos (2-4), Cook finished 2-for-3 with a triple and a run scored while designated hitter Arielle Owens went 2-for-4 with a RBI.

Chavez crushed a full-count fastball for a 3-run home run in the second for Santa Fe (5-1), the big blow of the inning.