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SANTA FE – It was an unexpected game with an unexpectedly lopsided outcome.
Los Alamos’ baseball team took on the Santa Fe Demons in a big District 2-4A contest Wednesday night.
But while Los Alamos was on a mission Wednesday, a similar mission statement seemed to be lacking from the Demons.
Los Alamos scored at least two runs in each of its five at-bats at Clyde Faucett Field, including a six-run top of the fifth to put the game away as it handled Santa Fe in a romp, 18-4.
Hilltopper Jake Downs had the biggest game of his career in the win, that kept Los Alamos a perfect 9-0 in district play. Downs not only started and won the game on the hill, he went 4-for-5 at the plate with two triples, a double and drove in a whopping six runs.
Downs missed hitting for the cycle by about six feet – his second triple made it all the way to the warning track in deep left-center, the second deepest spot in the ballpark.
“I was relaxed and I was seeing the ball,” Downs said of his big day at the plate. “Just relaxing and I stayed loose up there and I was just hitting the ball hard.”
With its win, the Hilltoppers remain in full control of the 2-4A standings heading into their most important contests of the season, a doubleheader Saturday at home against the Española Valley.
Based on their first meeting of the season, it was surprising the Demons couldn’t keep the score any closer than they did, however.
Los Alamos and Santa Fe played a doubleheader at Bomber Field April 5 and in the first game of that doubleheader the two teams were knotted at 2 heading into the bottom of the seventh before Downs drove in Zealand Walterscheid to clinch the victory.
In that game, Santa Fe’s Korwin Mueller threw a complete game, taking the hard-luck loss against Connor Mang, who replaced Downs after his brilliant showing on the hill.
Surprisingly, Mueller didn’t start Wednesday’s game – Demon left-hander Kodi Richards got the start. Los Alamos (17-6) scored five runs off Richards in the first two innings, with Trevor Pacheco doubling home Jared Mang in the first and Downs tripling in two runs early in the second.
Richards also had control trouble and walked four batters in the second inning before he was pulled in favor of Hiram Lopez.
Mueller did come on to pitch to start the fifth inning, with the outcome virtually assured by then, but Mueller hurt his left leg fielding a short chopper by Wes Moss, the third batter he faced, and didn’t return.
“We wanted to come in here and push and we thought they’d come out here and push back again,” Downs said. “We wanted a dogfight, basically. We wanted competition to make us better.”
Among the Hilltoppers’ big offensive numbers Thursday, Jared Mang had another big day hitting out of the 3-spot. He went 3-for-4 with a double, triple and three RBI along with scoring three runs. Connor Mang was 2-for-4 with a double and scored three times.
With the win, Los Alamos ran its win streak to 11. Only Goddard (16-3), with 12 wins, has a better win streak going in 4A.