'Topper offense comes up big in home win

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Since the start of the District 2-4A season, the Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team has sported one of the most productive offenses in the state.
Los Alamos put up some more solid offensive production Wednesday, taking a win in a big district contest and moving a step closer to earning its fifth straight district title.
Los Alamos scored multiple runs in five of its six innings at bat, dropping the Santa Fe Demons at Bomber Field early, 14-4.
The win puts the Hilltoppers at 8-1 in the district season, but they still have a key doubleheader Saturday at Española Valley.
But with Wednesday’s victory, Los Alamos will have to win just one or other contest to secure the district title.
The top of the Hilltopper batting order came through in a big way against Santa Fe. Lead-off batter Connor Mang reached base in three of his four plate appearances and scored a pair of runs. Behind him, No. 3 batter Jared Mang, Connor’s older brother, and clean-up batter Steven Williams combined to drive in 7 runs.
Connor Mang, a freshman fresh off hitting for the cycle in the second game of a doubleheader against Bernalillo Saturday, said one of the keys for Los Alamos during this district season has been jumping on opposing pitching early.
“Getting a good start is always helpful,” he said. “It takes a lot of stress off the pitchers. It takes a lot of stress off the hitters. It kind of defeats the other team a little.”
In the bottom of the first, four of Los Alamos’ first five batters reached base. Jared Mang had a double to right-center, one of two doubles he had on the day and Tristan Hill followed up two batters later with a RBI single that was misplayed in left field and Hill ended up circling the bases on the play.
Santa Fe starting pitcher Hiram Lopez lasted just 2-plus innings, getting tagged for 5 hits and 6 runs. Lopez’s defense wasn’t doing him a ton of favors, either, with 3 errors leading directly to runs.
Lopez was lifted for RJ Porras in the third inning after the first three batters of the inning reached base. Williams, who finished the game 2-for-3, singled home Jared Mang and Hill drew a walk, prompting Lopez’s exit.
The Demons (7-18, 3-6) might have avoided further damage in the inning, but another error allowed both Hill and Wes Moss to score.
Wednesday’s loss for the Demons, who after dropping both ends of a doubleheader to Bernalillo April 13, dropping them all the way down to fourth place in the district race, likely squandered any chance they might have had to reach the 4A playoffs. The Demons are the only district team this season to hand the Hilltoppers a loss, that coming April 6.
Jared Mang started and finished the contest. His only rough inning was the fourth, where he was touched for a pair of doubles, one by Lopez and one by Gabe Valdez.
Hilltopper manager Mike Gill, who has led Los Alamos to its four consecutive 2-4A titles, said he knew it would be a challenge to keep the Demons off the scoreboard.
“The Santa Fe offense scares me to death, honestly,” he said. “They’ve got kids with pop. They’ve got kids that can leave the yard, but we did a good job of limiting them when they got runners on.”