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It was a rough day to be an Española Valley Sundevil Wednesday.
Along with playing on the road in chilly conditions against arch-rival Los Alamos, the Sundevil batters got hit by pitches four times in Wednesday’s game.
Meanwhile, the Hilltoppers pounded out 16 hits, 6 for extra bases, as they won a key early season District 2-4A softball game at Overlook Park.
Los Alamos scored in every innings and multiple runs in all but one inning to thump Española Valley 15-5 in six innings.
The win over Española Valley gives Los Alamos no worse than sole possession of second place – the result of Wednesday’s Bernalillo-Capital game hadn’t been reported as of press time – with Los Alamos just a doubleheader against Capital away from reaching the halfway point in the district season.
The Sundevils (7-6 overall, 2-2 in district) have been very much up-and-down this season and it was hard to know exactly what to expect from the team, but Los Alamos liked its chances going into the match-up.
“We were pretty confident going in, but we couldn’t be overconfident,” said Hilltopper Kristin Christensen, who because of team injuries has bounced all around the diamond in recent games and Wednesday was positioned at second base. “We had to play our game, do our best, we had to work on defense. We hit the ball. We didn’t want to leave runners on base.”
It was Española Valley that got the early jump in the game, threatening in the first inning against starting pitcher Emilee Jones. Española Valley had two on, had a run in and had just one out before Los Alamos pulled off the first of three double plays in the ballgame.
Micaela Christensen, starting at shortstop, forced out Candyce Bustos at second and doubled-up Selena Valencia to end the threat. Christensen would pull off a similar double play to end the sixth inning.
Despite some big plays on defense for Los Alamos (7-10 overall, 3-1 in 2-4A), some errors would aid Española Valley in its biggest inning of the game.
The Hilltoppers held a commanding 8-1 lead after three innings but a throwing error and a wild pitch set up three of Española Valley’s four runs scored, getting it right back in the game. Along with the Hilltopper miscues, right fielder Brittany Gallegos doubled in a run to get the rally going.
“When they had the bases loaded, we thought we’d get some ground balls and get some outs,” Los Alamos manager Roger Anaya said. “But we made some miscues. Española hits the ball well. The top of their lineup really hits the ball well.”
Los Alamos would answer right back with three runs of its own in the bottom of the fourth. Kristin Christensen and Erin Kirk hit back-to-back doubles and Krysta Salazar came through later with an infield hit.
Micaela Christensen, who had a one-out single to start the spurt, went 3-for-4 Wednesday with a solo home run to lead off the third and scored three times. Kristin Christensen was 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles a RBI and a run scored.
To finish off the game, Kiana Zerr belted a two-run home run to center field in the sixth inning. Zerr, who won both ends of Saturday’s doubleheader sweep of Santa Fe as a pitcher, was 2-for-4 as well.
On the slab, Jones went the distance, giving up three earned runs. She allowed four hits and struck out six to pick up the win.
Bustos had a pair of hits for the Sundevils, the only player on that team with more than one hit.