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A three-run rally in the bottom of the fifth Wednesday made an already tangled District 2AAAA softball race that much more interesting.
With the score knotted at 2-2, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers pushed three runs across in the bottom of the fifth, while pitcher Monika Teter shut down the Española Valley Sundevils the rest of the way to give the Hilltoppers a 5-2 win at Overlook Park.
Wednesday’s game was a must-win for the Hilltoppers, who, after being swept this weekend by the Bernalillo Spartans, were fighting to keep their playoff chances alive.
Now, with Los Alamos’ win over Española Valley, which was in first place in the district race to start the day, the possibility of a three-way tie for the 2AAAA top spot is a definite possibility.
Los Alamos will now look to sweep both ends of its season-ending doubleheader against Capital Saturday and hope one or the other between the Sundevils and the Spartans sweeps their doubleheader that same day at Española Valley.
With both Bernalillo and Española Valley sitting at 8-2 in district and Los Alamos right behind them at 7-3, it doesn’t matter which team drops both games, the Hilltoppers would still finish the season in second place.
Should the Spartans and Sundevils split, that could potentially create a three-way tie for the 2AAAA title. Los Alamos secured the season tiebreaker over Española Valley with Wednesday’s win and Bernalillo already has the tiebreaker over Los Alamos by virtue of Saturday’s doubleheader sweep.
Wednesday, Teter went the distance, striking out nine batters and issuing just three walks to pick up the victory. She allowed the two earned runs in the top of the fourth with the Sundevils able to string three base hits and a fielder’s choice together.
Beyond that, however, Española Valley never got much going against the hard-throwing freshman.
Los Alamos jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two innings with Teter and Yvette Padilla driving in runs in the inning.
In the fifth, Kristina Radosevich led off with a ground rule double. Three batters later, Micaela Christensen’s sacrifice fly to left field brought Radosevich around and the next batter, Stephaine Abney had a run-scoring single to give the Hilltoppers the advantage.
“It’s probably one of the better performances our team has had,” Los Alamos manager Roger Anaya said. “We had zero errors, which is good. When we don’t have any errors, we usually win.”
Anaya said he was particularly impressed with his outfield’s defense, led by center fielder Brianna Radosevich, which had to deal with several tricky fly balls throughout the contest.
For Española Valley (13-9 overall), Renee Roybal went the distance but ended up taking the loss. Roybal threw all 14 innings of the doubleheader between Española Valley and Los Alamos, taking a hard-luck loss in the first game but winning the nightcap in impressive fashion.
Depending on the outcome of Saturday’s games – and potentially any district tiebreaker – Los Alamos’ fate could ultimately be decided by the New Mexico Activities Association selection committee, which will announce Class AAAA’s draw May 10.
The top two finishers in each district will be placed in the double-elimination draw along with four at-large teams for the AAAA state tournament.
The state softball tournament starts May 14 in Las Cruces.