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Things are going about as well for the Los Alamos Hilltopper softball team right now as first-year manager Roger Anaya could hope for.
Los Alamos picked up a pair of impressive wins in a home District 2AAAA doubleheader Thursday against the Taos Tigers to keep pace with the district front-runner Española Valley. The Hilltoppers needed just 4-1/2 innings to top the Tigers in game 14-1, then closed out game two in just three innings, taking a 15-0 win in the nightcap at Overlook Park.
With the two victories, Los Alamos improved to 6-1 in 2AAAA competition and cracked the .500 winning mark for the first time this season, improving to 10-9 overall.
Against Taos, Los Alamos pounded out a combined 27 hits in the eight innings en route to the sweep.
“Our hitting has improved a lot,” Anaya said. “We had 14 putouts, our pitchers are throwing well, our defense has stepped up and we hitting the ball so well.”
The wins gave Los Alamos the season sweep of Taos. The Hilltoppers topped the Tigers 21-1 April 1 in the 2AAAA opener for both teams.
With the two losses Thursday, Taos (1-21 overall, 1-8 in 2AAAA) is the second team in 2AAAA to be mathematically eliminated from postseason contention, along with Capital (2-17, 0-7 in 2AAAA).
But Los Alamos has a big doubleheader Saturday against the Bernalillo Spartans, the team currently sitting in third place in the 2AAAA standings.
Bernalillo is currently 1-1/2 games behind Los Alamos for second place, while Los Alamos trails Española Valley by one game.
Thursday, Stephanie Abney needed just 50 pitches through five innings to pick up the victory in the circle for the Hilltoppers.
Abney had a perfect game going into the fifth inning until Taos put together a pair of hits to break up Abney’s bid.
Offensively, Abney helped out her own cause in the first game, going 2-for-4 with a double, while third baseman Nyleen Cook had two hits, including a double, in three trips to the plate.
In the second game, Brianna Radosevich pitched all three innings to earn the victory. She faced the minimum of nine batters through the three innings.
Hilltoppers Ashley Valdez, Micaela Christensen and Yvette Padilla each finished 2-for-3 in the short contest. Padilla knocked in four runs in the three innings, while Valdez and Christensen had two RBI apiece.
Los Alamos has now won six of its last eight contests.
Anaya said he was breathing a little sigh of relief following Thursday’s games.
“I was worried a little bit,” he said. “We know we can compete with Taos, but we’ve got Bernalillo this weekend. I was afraid we might overlook Taos.”
The first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Bernalillo starts at 11 a.m. at Overlook Park.
The Hilltoppers and Spartans (8-7, 4-2 in district) have faced off twice this season, once prior to the start of the 2AAAA season, and both games have been hotly contested. In their one district meeting so far — the other game was at the Los Alamos Tournament prior to the state of the district season — the Hilltoppers sweated out a 2-0 victory behind ace pitcher Monika Teter.
Anaya said Teter will likely go in game one Saturday. Should Los Alamos win that game, it would clinch the head-to-head doubleheader over the Spartans with five district games left to play.
“We’re not looking at one,” Anaya said. “We’re looking to sweep. It could come down to one game to win district. The girls will be ready for that.”