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A couple of big innings for the Los Alamos Hilltopper softball team proved to be enough to survive through a big Bernalillo Spartan inning late Wednesday.
Los Alamos built up a 9-4 lead on the strength of a 4-run fifth inning Wednesday, but Bernalillo wouldn’t go away, scoring three times in the top of the sixth to make things plenty interesting.
The Hilltoppers would prevail, however, pushing a run across in the bottom of the sixth and holding in the top of the seventh to take Wednesday’s contest 10-7.
The Hilltoppers and Spartans were meeting in a critical District 2AAAA game at Overlook Park in White Rock. With the Hilltoppers, Spartans and Española Valley’s Sundevils all jockeying for position in the 2AAAA standings, both the Hilltoppers and Spartans were fired up for that contest.
Like all three big offensive innings during the game, Bernalillo’s push was aided by a Los Alamos miscue. Los Alamos committed a costly error early in the inning on a routine sacrifice attempt which set Bernalillo up with a pair of runners in scoring position.
Two batters later, Bernalillo’s Marisa Valencia popped a 2-run home run to right center to slice Los Alamos’ lead down to just two runs.
Hilltopper manager Roger Anaya said that during that inning he felt confident his team would hold it together.
“I think we’ve had a lot of close games throughout the year,” he said. “That’s helped us not to panic. We knew we were going to get some runs. I told the kids to relax, continue playing and we’ll get those runs.”
In the bottom of the inning, Los Alamos strung together three hits and pushed a run across to take a 10-7 advantage.
Los Alamos’ No. 9 hitter Kristina Radosevich sent a ball back up the box to plate pinch runner Rachel Anaya.
Hilltopper ace pitcher Monika Teter, who threw a complete game Wednesday, pitched around a 1-out walk to close out the contest.
Teter struck out 12 batters in the contest. She gave up seven hits in her outing and allowed four earned runs.
Offensively, the Hilltoppers got several key hits throughout the contest. In their 5-run third inning, third baseman Sam D’Anna provided the big blow, catching up to an Emily Rodriguez fastball and belting it into left-center for a bases-clearing double.
In the fifth, catcher Micaela Christensen cracked a three-run home run to dead center field, the biggest part of the ballpark. It was Christensen’s third homer of the season and second in as many outings — she hit another shot Monday in a win over Pojoaque.
Christensen, who is leading the team in several statistical categories, also had a RBI single in the third inning, going 2-for-3 from the plate with two runs scored.
“I think we’re hitting the ball well,” Anaya said. “We’re getting that big inning and we’re wanting more.”
Bernalillo actually led the game 2-0 after 2-1/2 innings before Los Alamos’ big third inning rally. Claudia Delano had a RBI single in the inning for the Spartans (4-6 overall, 2-1 in 2AAAA) in that inning.
For the Hilltoppers (7-7 overall, 2-0 in 2AAAA), it was their fourth victory in a row and fifth in the last seven outings.
The Hilltoppers are just a half-game behind district-leading Española Valley (10-4 overall, 3-0 in 2AAAA), which crushed Taos in a doubleheader this weekend, winning the two games by a combined 32-3.
Los Alamos and Española Valley are scheduled to meet in a big doubleheader Saturday at Overlook Park.
Española Valley is the reigning district champion, but was humbled in its last outing by Santa Fe, falling 20-10 and snapping a three-game win streak.