Weiss, LA hitters come up big Monday

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Baseball: ’Toppers pick up third win in four outings

By Mike Cote

JACONA — Big production in the third and fifth innings led to a big win for the Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team over its next door neighbor Monday afternoon.
Los Alamos pounded out nine of its 10 hits over a three-inning stretch, while starting pitcher JD Weiss threw a superb game as the Hilltoppers thumped the Pojoaque Elks 9-1 at Jacona Field.
Los Alamos scored four times in the fifth to blow open Monday’s ballgame, stringing together four straight hits including a triple by catcher Zeke Zumbro and a double by left fielder Kyle Parks to start the rally.
It was the third win in four outings for the Hilltoppers, who evened up their early season record to 3-3. The Hilltoppers have bounced back nicely after getting swept in their season opener against Piedra Vista.
“We just keep grinding,” said Hilltopper manager Mike Gill. “We’re staying on top of the ball, keeping away from pop flies. We strung some hits together in a row. We’re playing good defense. It’s what we’re trying to do.”
Meanwhile, Weiss (2-1) threw a two-hit complete game, allowing just one unearned run and fanning 10 batters, including five of the last seven batters he faced.
Weiss, the Hilltoppers’ ace, made just one mistake the entire ballgame, leaving a fastball up for Pojoaque left fielder Paul Tafoya, who drilled it into the opposite field for a double. Tafoya would end up scoring later in the second inning on an error.
The Elks’ run gave them a 1-0 lead, while Elk starting pitcher Mychael Parish started off the game very well, putting down five of seven hitters in one stretch.
But Parish, who was hurt by some shoddy defense throughout, seemed to tire after the midway point of the ballgame. Parish went the whole way, but his fastball lost some pop and the Hilltopper hitters adjusted to his off-speed stuff, which had been effective early.
With Los Alamos up 4-1 in the top of the fifth, Zumbro led off with a triple to right field and scored when the relay throw went wide of third.
Zumbro, who had the big hit of the game, a two-run triple which proved to be the difference in a Saturday win over Moriarty, has been swinging the bat well from his lead-off spot, went 3-for-4 and scored twice Monday, one of three Hilltoppers with multi-hit games.
Center fielder Austin Aslin was also 3-for-4 with a double, hitting in the No. 3 hole. Aslin scored twice and also drove in a run. Shortstop Jake Downs went 2-for 3 and scored a run.
Starting Thursday, Los Alamos will take part in the St. Pius X Invitational. Its tournament-opening game is at 8 a.m. against Highland.
Also on that side of the bracket with the Hilltoppers are the host Sartans and El Paso (Texas) High School.
Monday’s game was the season opener for the Elks (0-1).
For the Elks, Roberto Garcia had the only other hit in the ballgame off Weiss.