'Toppers dump Spartans in 2-4A opener Wednesday

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By Mike Cote

One of its most balanced offensive showings of the season helped propel the Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team to a win Wednesday.
Los Alamos scored in five of its six plate appearances at Bomber Field, taking a solid 10-3 win over Bernalillo to open the District 2-4A season. Los Alamos scored two runs each in the second, third and fourth innings, then came through with three runs in the fifth to all but put the game away.
The Spartans tried to rally in the top of the sixth and, although it squeezed out a pair of runs, never could make a serious charge to get back in the ballgame.
It was a big day for several Hilltoppers, including Lane Saunders.
Saunders started the game on the hill for Los Alamos, going 3-1/3 innings and giving up just one run. Saunders also went 4-for-4 at the plate with a double and drove in a pair of runs.
“I just fixed the way I was approaching things,” he said. “It was more of an attack than waiting for your pitch…just more aggressive, not as picky. It was just my day, I guess.”
Despite the Hilltoppers collecting 12 hits in the game, only Saunders and Trevor Pacheco had multi-hit games Wednesday. Pacheco finished 2-for-3 and scored three times.
Los Alamos is seeking its sixth consecutive district title this year and can put itself in a good position to take control if it can sweep Santa Fe at home Saturday. Santa Fe fell to Española Valley — the team that might represent the biggest threat to the Hilltoppers in district this year — 4-1 Wednesday in Santa Fe.
Adam Chavez started the game for Bernalillo (3-11, 0-1 in district). Chavez went 4-2/3 innings, giving up nine runs before being lifted in favor of Matthew Montoya, who finished the contest.
Los Alamos left fielder Zealand Walterscheid chased Chavez out of the game after a 2-run single in the fifth.
There isn’t any magic, Walterscheid said, to what the Hilltoppers have been doing on their three-game winning streak that put them at a season-best 3 games over .500 (9-6).
“Just play our game and work how we’ve been working in practice,” he said. “Just do what we know how to do.”
The game wasn’t completely rosy for the Hilltoppers Wednesday, however. The defense committed three errors in the contest that led indirectly to two of the Spartans’ runs.
Jared Mang picked up the win on the mound. He entered the game in the top of the fourth, throwing 2-2/3 innings, striking out three and giving up just one earned run.
He also went 1-for-3 at the plate and scored two runs, while Connor Mang was 1-for-3 with a double and drove in two runs. Chris Funk drove in Los Alamos’ first run in the second inning with a base hit.
“It was an important win just to get us right,” Walterscheid said afterward. “We know what we’re going to get for the rest of district. It’s a big win for us. Now we’re ready for the next team.”