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SANTA FE – In order to keep its hopes alive of grabbing the District 2-4A runner-up spot, Los Alamos knew it would have to sweep its remaining games.
And with a big win on the road Thursday, the toughest of those games is in the bag.
Los Alamos pitcher Kiana Zerr went the distance, striking out nine and getting the better of Santa Fe’s ace Alex Russell as the Hilltoppers won 3-1 over the Demons.
Undoubtedly, a sense of urgency permeated the club heading into the contest, particularly after dropping both ends of a doubleheader at Bernalillo last weekend.
“We discussed that,” Los Alamos manager Roger Anaya said. “Even before the Bernalillo games we discussed how big these three games were. After not winning in Bernalillo, we knew we had to get a good outing (Thursday).”
And the Hilltoppers (11-12 overall, 5-4 in 2-4A) did just that.
Zerr didn’t allow a ball out of the infield in between the second and sixth innings and had a no-hitter going into the Demons’ last at-bat before Xeala Porras ended her no-hit bid with a double in the seventh.
The game was scoreless heading into the top of the sixth. But with two out, Los Alamos’ Holly Aikin came through with a base hit to extend the inning.
The next batter, Emilee Jones, belted a two-run home run to break the scoreless tie. Immediately following Jones, Taylor Jaramillo hit a solo shot to put the Hilltoppers up 3-0.
Santa Fe tried to rally back in the bottom of the seventh, but another big play by Jones quelled the attempt. With Porras on second following her double, Jones fielded a ground ball at her shortstop position, then faked a throw to first, drawing Porras off the bag so Jones could tag her out.
Los Alamos is still a game back of Santa Fe (13-6 overall, 6-3 in 2-4A) in the district standings, but Santa Fe still has one road game remaining against 2-4A leader Bernalillo. That game is scheduled for April 30. Santa Fe and Bernalillo split a doubleheader April 12.
Los Alamos will host Española Valley for a pair of games Saturday, then finish up its regular season against Capital April 30.