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TAOS — It was a big early deficit against a very good ballclub and the White Rock All-Stars wouldn’t be able to overcome it.
Despite going into Tuesday’s semifinal round contest of the state tournament with some good momentum after two come-from-behind wins, the gap was too much to close. Albuquerque’s Eastdale All-Stars got their bats going early, pounding out nine hits in the first two innings and taking advantage of five errors to upend White Rock 14-2 in 3-1/2 innings at Kit Carson Park.
Eastdale, one of the favorites in the Majors state softball tournament, had nine hits in the first two innings, including four for extra bases, while White Rock could only come up with single tallies in the tops of the second and fourth.
The loss dropped White Rock into the loser’s bracket of the tournament. White Rock was scheduled to play at 10 a.m. this morning — results from that game were not available as of press time.
Eastdale had today off and will play for the tournament championship. It needs to win just one more game to claim the title.
White Rock, meanwhile, would’ve had to win today’s game and beat Eastdale in two straight contests to win.
Tuesday’s loss was the first of the season for the group from White Rock, which played together during the regular season as well. Unfortunately for White Rock, not only did Eastdale’s hot bats prove to be problematic, the defense committed three errors in the first inning and two more in the second that might have limited the damage.
White Rock ace Hannah Mojica, who threw a complete game to get a 3-2 win in the team’s tournament opener against Silver City, got into trouble early against Eastdale, with each of the first five batters reaching base, three by way of hits. Eastdale clean-up hitter Ariana Strunk had a run-scoring triple and scored two batters later on a two-run single by Esperanza Pieson-Bobb.
Much of the damage, however, was done by Andrea Holiard, Eastdale’s starting pitcher and No. 2 hitter. Holiard, who had two hits and scored a run in the first inning, also came through with a bases-clearing double in the second to up Eastdale’s advantage to 12-1.
On the mound, Holiard struck out the first five White Rock hitters she faced. That streak was broken when center fielder Taylor Collins drew a walk in the second and Mojica tripled to drive her home for White Rock’s first run.
But Holiard would end up striking out eight hitters in three innings of work. She gave up just the triple to Mojica.
White Rock’s other run came in its final at-bat. Morgan Hohner led off the inning with a triple and was driven home by Sarah Chiri’s base hit one batter later.
In the first two rounds of the state tournament, White Rock pulled off come-from-behind victories, topping Silver City in the first round, then rallying from three runs down in its final at-bat to knock off Las Vegas in Monday’s second round, 12-11.
The tournament could close out Thursday or, if Eastdale loses Thursday morning, would go until Friday.