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Softball: Toppers take third place in home tournament

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By Mike Cote

Heading into the final game of the 10-game Los Alamos Softball Tournament, second place was still up in the air.

With the Raton Tigers securing first place after going 4-0, the Santa Fe Indian School Braves and the Los Alamos Hilltoppers were tied 2-1 in the standings and facing off in Saturday’s finale at Overlook Park.

In the tournament finale, Hilltopper pitcher Stephanie Abney, the workhorse of Saturday for Los Alamos, threw four outstanding innings, but seemed to run out of gas in the fifth as the Braves touched her up for five runs to knock her out of the contest.

On the strength of the big fifth inning, the Braves would go on to win 7-1 and knock Los Alamos down to third place.

It was a rough stretch for the five teams involved, playing four games in two days. Along the way, though, Los Alamos liked a lot of what it saw, though.

“We didn’t hit the ball as well as we should’ve,” Hilltopper junior Briana Radosevich said. “We did really well on defense. We had some rough spots, but we battled through and made some plays.”

As has been the case for much of this season, though, the Hilltoppers stranded several runners which might have cost them in the early part of the game against SFIS.

“We left a lot of runners on base,” Hilltopper manager Roger Anaya said. “That’s been our problem all year. The coaches need to get together and come up with some ideas.”

In the first game of the tournament, played bright and early Friday morning, the Hilltoppers pounded Taos 14-0 in 4-1/2 innings.

Los Alamos scored five runs in the second inning and five more in the third to cruise to the victory, while Abney threw five innings of 1-hit ball to pick up her first pitching victory of the season.

Abney helped herself out in the win, hitting a double off the top of the outfield fence with the bases loaded to drive in three runs.

In the pitching circle, she threw 47 of her 58 total pitches for strikes (81 percent) and struck out seven Tiger hitters.

Anaya said afterward he was happy to see Abney throwing as well as she did against Taos (0-9) Friday morning.

Arielle Owens had a double and scored a run against the Tigers, while Micaela Christensen was 1-for-2 at the plate with two runs scored and Yvette Padilla was 1-for-3 and scored three times.

Things didn’t go as well for the Hilltoppers in Friday’s second game, however, as they fell to the Raton Tigers 7-0.

Raton, which was remarkably consistent throughout its tournament run, topped Bernalillo 8-3 in Friday’s late game, then thudded Taos 20-5 and slipped by SFIS 5-4 in Saturday’s midday game.

Against Los Alamos, starting pitcher Krista Fissell belted a 2-run home run in a 3-run second inning to help propel the Tigers (6-2) to victory.

Fissell, who went 3-for-4 at the plate Friday against the Hilltoppers, was just as good on the hill. She gave up just three hits in the contest, going the distance, and allowing just one runner past first base.

Radosevich took the loss against Raton.

Los Alamos was playing most of the tournament short-handed. The only two pitchers it had available during the tournament were Abney and Radosevich.

Abney picked up the victory in Saturday’s early game, going the distance on 90 pitches. She was efficient enough and managed to hold onto enough energy that Anaya gave her the starting nod against SFIS.

Abney sparkled through four innings against SFIS, allowing just one hit and three runners on base while striking out seven. She fanned the side in the third inning using her breaking pitches to stymie the Braves.

In Saturday’s game against District 2AAAA rival Bernalillo, Abney settled down after giving up back-to-back doubles to start the fourth inning, then retired two straight batters with the go-ahead run on second base in the sixth.

“Stephanie did really well,” Radosevich said. “She’s got a lot of confidence.”

Los Alamos scored three times in the third inning with Kristina Radosevich driving in a run on a fielder’s choice and Christensen driving in another run on a sacrifice fly to left field.

Los Alamos got good production out of the bottom of its order in Saturday’s contests, with Ashley Valdez going 1-for-3 in both games and Shannon Krause going 3-for-3 against Bernalillo.

Krause drove in a run in the fourth with a base hit to right-center, bumping up Los Alamos’ lead to 4-2. Mariah Zerr, who played the outfield and batted ninth against SFIS, also had a hit on the day.

“That’s nice to see, that’s really nice to see,” Anaya said of the bottom of his order.

Bernalillo took a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh — the game went into the “international rules” tiebreaker with each team getting to start the inning with a runner on second base — but with the bases loaded in the home half of the inning, Shelby Courtright lined a single off shortstop Emily Rodriguez’s glove to score Abney and Nyleen Cook and give the Hilltoppers the victory.

Los Alamos’ victories over Taos — also a 2AAAA competitor — and Bernalillo don’t count in the district standings. Only regularly scheduled games affect district competition.

Bernalillo (2-4) finished 1-3 on the tournament. It played reasonably well against both SFIS (4-1) and Raton, but had innings where the wheels simply fell off and it ended up on the short end of big scores.

While Los Alamos (4-7) felt it had a decent showing at the tournament, there’s still some work to do.

“We want to be a little better than we did,” Radosevich said. “We lost games to some teams we could’ve beaten, but we’ve had some errors. We have to get our bats going, but we’ll be OK.”

NOTE: Los Alamos’ scheduled game Tuesday at Santa Fe may be postponed. Santa Fe inadvertently scheduled two games for Tuesday and may drop the game against Los Alamos.

 

Los Alamos Softball Tournament  Results

Friday

Los Alamos 14, Taos 0

Santa Fe Indian School 22, Bernalillo 2

Raton 7, Los Alamos 0

SFIS 12, Taos 2

Raton 8, Bernalillo 3

Saturday

Raton 20, Taos 5

Los Alamos 6, Bernalillo 5

Raton 5, SFIS 4

Bernalillo 17, Taos 2

SFIS 7, Los Alamos 1

Final standings

1. Raton, 4-0

2. Santa Fe Indian School, 3-1

3. Los Alamos, 2-2

4. Bernalillo, 1-3

5. Taos, 0-4