Softball: Toppers bounced at state

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By Mike Cote

The Los Alamos Hilltopper softball team was bounced from the state Class AAAA playoffs Friday morning by the Deming Wildcats.

Los Alamos dropped it elimination round game to Deming by a final of 12-2 in the double-elimination playoff format.

This season’s tournament, which was being held at Ricketts Field in Farmington, was won by the Piedra Vista Panthers, who downed Artesia in the title game, 9-0.

Los Alamos lost its second straight double-digit decision in the playoffs Friday. In its opening round contest Thursday, the Hilltoppers fell to the Aztec Tigers 12-0.

Hilltopper manager Randy Burditt, who wrapped up his 15th season as manager or coach with Friday’s loss, said he liked the effort he saw through the two games at the tournament.

“The kids didn’t play that bad, but we struggled hitting for some reason,” Burditt said. “What a week to go cold on our hitting.”

Weather threatened to shorten the tournament from double-elimination to single-elimination. Los Alamos’ first game was postponed more than 90 minutes at the start and approximately 20 minutes with just one-third of an inning played due to rain showers and lightning.

The loss to the Wildcats ended the Hilltoppers’ season with a mark of 14-13.

Burditt said the tournament was a good experience for the younger members of the squad.

“We’ve got a lot of kids returning,” he said. “Hopefully, they’ll take this experience and go with it.”

Los Alamos was the runner up in District 2AAAA with a record of 9-3. It was the final game in the prep careers of four Los Alamos seniors, Cassandra Arellano, Samantha Aumack, Megan Burditt and Ashley Merhege.

Randy Burditt may have managed his last game with the Hilltoppes as well, although he said he hasn’t completely made up his mind.

With Megan Burditt graduating and going to play softball with Western Nebraska next year, the 8-year skipper said it would be tough to continue.

“It wouldn’t be fair to Megan for me to not support her, and it wouldn’t be fair to the team for me to be going back and forth between Nebraska and them,” he said.