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Today's Sports

  • Giants' Ishikawa hits walk-...

    SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After three years away with four different teams, Travis Ishikawa landed himself a second chance with San Francisco right where he so wanted to be.
    And with one sweet swing, he sent the Giants back to the World Series.
    It was the Shot That Shook the Bay.
    For all the questions about San Francisco’s failures to clear the fences and weird ways they’re winning during their latest special October, the Giants got back to the World Series with the home run. A trio of longballs, in fact.
    Ishikawa made good on the big stage only a few months removed from the minors, hitting the first homer to end an NL Championship Series on a three-run drive that lifted San Francisco to a 6-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.
    “It’s gratifying,” Ishikawa said. “If there’s an organization I’d want to do it for, it would be this one.”
    These every-other-year Giants will face the Royals in an all wild-card World Series.
    A journeyman who began the season with Pittsburgh, Ishikawa connected for the first game-ending home run that sent the Giants into the World Series since perhaps the most famous drive in baseball history — Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in a 1951 playoff.

  • 'Toppers head to Rio Rancho...

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper cross country teams are coming right down to the nitty-gritty of their regular season, starting Saturday at Rio Rancho.
    Los Alamos’ boys and girls will head to the Rio Rancho Jamboree Saturday, the first of their final two regular season contests. Following Saturday’s meet, the teams will host their home meet Oct. 24 at Los Alamos Golf Course.
    The Rio Rancho Jamboree is a key late-season contest, primarily because it takes place around the campus of Rio Rancho High School, the same venue that hosts the state meet.
    The state championship meet is slated for Nov. 8.
    Rio Rancho features a relatively fast but deceptively challenging course, known for its dust and a couple of tough climbs that runners will have to be wary of.
    The Hilltoppers, of course, won both the boys and girls state titles in 2013 as members of Class 4A and both appear to be contenders in Class 5A this season.
    Los Alamos’ girls are looking very much like the team to beat in 5A at this point, having downed every other 5A team they’ve gone up against this season except for in their first meet in early September.

  • Royals sweep Orioles to advance

    KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — When the final out was made on another improbable night, and the Kansas City Royals were headed back to the World Series, Ned Yost stood in the dugout and watched.
    He watched as a bunch of young players he’s nurtured for years celebrated. He watched as veterans and journeymen and baseball vagabonds piled onto the infield. And he watched as a fan base that has so often criticized him relished a moment 29 years in the making.
    “These kids, from the minute you saw them, you knew they were going to be special,” Yost said. “Their goal was to get here and win a championship, and today they accomplished that.”
    Led by a dynamic defense, an opportunistic offense and one of the best bullpens in the game, the Royals swept aside the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night. With another tight win, 2-1, the Royals captured their first the American League championship since 1985.
    “It’s hard to explain,” said outfielder Lorenzo Cain, whose clutch hits and dramatic grabs earned him the series MVP award. “We’re clicking at the right moment right now.”

  • 'Toppers stay put in 5A...

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper football team is still near the bottom of the Class 5A rankings this week, according to MaxPreps.com.
    But the Hilltoppers didn’t slip this week, despite falling to 0-7 and dropping a 10-7 decision at home in their District 2-5A opener last Friday.
    Los Alamos stayed put at No. 21 this week. Not only did it not go down, it’s not the lowest-ranked team in the district — that dubious honor is held by the Bernalillo Spartans.
    The Spartans, who are in the No. 23 spot, according to the website, also lost their 2-5A opener last week. They were blown out 42-0 by district newcomer Del Norte. That win was just Del Norte’s second victory of the year.
    Del Norte, as it has been all season, is the top-ranked team in 2-5A, coming in at No. 16, the same place it was a week ago.
    Capital moved up to No. 18 in this week’s poll following its win over the Hilltoppers at Sullivan Field. Capital’s Adrian Ornelas booted a 28-yard field goal with just half a second remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Jaguars the win.
    The Jaguars (3-4) are one spot ahead of Española Valley (4-2), which was idle last week. The Sundevils will play Del Norte Friday night in Albuquerque.

  • 'Toppers move to 3-1 in 2-5A

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper volleyball team improved to 3-1 in District 2-5A play with its win on the road Wednesday night.
    Los Alamos picked up its second straight sweep of the district season, downing the Del Norte Knights. The two teams played relatively tight the first two sets, but Los Alamos pounded Del Norte in the final set, winning 25-19, 27-25, 25-5.
    With Wednesday’s win, the Hilltoppers move to 8-8 overall. They’ve won three of their last four contests.
    More importantly for Los Alamos, it keeps pace with Española Valley in the 2-5A race. Los Alamos downed Bernalillo Saturday, also in three sets, to take over the No. 2 spot in the district standings.
    Del Norte (6-8 overall, 1-3 in 2-5A) is in fourth place, just one match ahead of Capital.
    Española Valley, meanwhile, improved to 4-0 after picking up a sweep at Bernalillo Wednesday. The Hilltoppers and Sundevils (13-2 overall) are scheduled to meet Oct. 25 in the valley, potentially with the district regular season title on the line.
    Los Alamos has just four regular season matches remaining ahead of the 2-5A tournament, including Saturday against Capital. Los Alamos swept Capital in the teams’ first meeting.
    The Jaguars are 0-4 on the district season and have won just twice in all of 2014.

  • LA finishes 2nd in fall finale

    The Los Alamos Hilltopper boys golf team finished second at the Albuquerque Public Schools Invitational to wrap up its fall 2014 season.
    Los Alamos will return in March with five more tournaments to try to qualify for the state Class 5A playoffs, which are scheduled for May.
    The Hilltoppers posted a team score of 363 at Tuesday’s tournament, played at Ladera Golf Course in Albuquerque. That was 12 shots better than third-place Cibola.
    La Cueva’s Bears, however, ran away with the tournament title. The Bears, a Class 6A program, shot a 298 Tuesday, sweeping the top three spots individually, with Kevin Fanelli carding a 71.
    Los Alamos was the only full team competing from a Class 5A school at the APS contest.
    For the Hilltoppers, freshman Sean Rau picked up his first individual qualifying leg of the year. Rau shot a 79 at Ladera, which placed him seventh on the leaderboard.
    With his qualifying score, Rau becomes the second Hilltopper to earn a leg this fall — Los Alamos senior Jonathan Osden has already earned his spot at May’s state tournament.
    Los Alamos has five more events scheduled in the spring for Rau to try to earn his other two legs, as well as for Los Alamos to earn a team qualification.

  • Lobos are picked to finish 3rd

    The University of New Mexico Lobo men’s basketball team may have something to prove this year according to the media covering Mountain West hoops.
    The Lobos finished third in the preseason media poll, which was released Tuesday. The Lobos earned 270 points in the poll of 35 media members, which placed them just behind poll runner-up Boise State.
    Taking the top spot in the poll was San Diego State by a very comfortable margin. San Diego State’s Aztecs, who won the 2013-14 MW regular season crown, earned 383 points and grabbed all but one of the first-place votes cast — Boise State got the other top vote.
    Boise State’s Broncos just nipped UNM for the second spot, picking up 275 total points, but UNM just edged out UNLV for the No. 3 spot by a single point.
    Last March, the Lobos, led by their big three of Alex Kirk, Kendall Williams and Cameron Bairstow, won their third consecutive MW tournament title. All three, of those players, however, signed professional contracts during the offseason — Bairstow and Kirk in the NBA, Williams in Europe — and only two starters are returning from that team that went 27-7 overall and 15-3 in conference play.
    The top returning scorer for UNM this season is sophomore Cullen Neal.

  • Kirk has longest outing of...

    With only a little over two weeks before the start of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2014-15 season, Alex Kirk got a long, hard look Tuesday by his team.
    In the Cavaliers’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks, their third straight victory in the preseason, Kirk played for 21-plus minutes and finished with 8 points, hitting 2 of 6 shots from the floor, and had 3 rebounds. That game was in Cleveland and was Kirk’s longest appearance for the Cavaliers in the preseason so far.
    Kirk, of course, is a 2010 graduate of Los Alamos High School. Following his standout career with the Hilltoppers, he had a solid career at the University of New Mexico, where he played for 3-plus years.
    Over the summer, Kirk went undrafted, but was signed by the Cavaliers to a free agent deal.
    The career prospects of an undrafted rookie free agent can often be dicey at best, but for those trying to make Cleveland’s squad this season, it may be doubly so.
    Cleveland was one of the most active teams in the offseason. The Cavaliers picked up two huge new players, LeBron James and Kevin Love, who got some hefty contracts.
    James, of course, is considered the best player by many in the NBA and is a four-time league MVP. He was originally drafted by Cleveland but left the team in a controversial free agent move in 2010 to join Miami.

  • Girls cling to 2-1 win at Capital

    SANTA FE — The Los Alamos Hilltopper girls soccer team didn’t have as easy a time handling the Capital Jaguars the second time around as it did the first.
    Los Alamos had a battle on its hands Saturday afternoon at Jaguar Field. In what is a very rare occurrence, Los Alamos had to come back from being down in a district game, giving up an early goal to the Jaguars.
    The Hilltoppers would come back to tie the score shortly afterward in the first half, then score again in the second half to escape with a 2-1 victory over the Jaguars.
    It was a surprisingly close outcome for Los Alamos (11-6 overall, 4-0 in 2-4A), which rolled to a 10-0 victory over Capital (6-9-1) in their first meeting Sept. 23 at Sullivan Field.
    “This was probably our worst performance in seven or eight games,” Los Alamos head coach AJ Herrera said. “We certainly didn’t play our ‘A’ game, but we understand we need to do better next time.”
    Herrera said he didn’t know if his team looked past Saturday’s game, but even though it netted just one goal in the second half, he said his team’s performance was considerably better in the final 40 minutes than the first 40 minutes.

  • 'Toppers blanked by Jags in...

    SANTA FE — Going into Saturday night’s big District 2-5A boys soccer game, the Los Alamos Hilltoppers had plans to make a big impression.
    The Capital Jaguars, however, had much different plans. Theirs worked out better.
    The Hilltoppers needed a win, preferably a big one, to keep any realistic shot of a district title alive this year, but the Jaguars, one of the hottest teams in the state right now, kept their hot streak going with a decisive 3-0 win at Jaguar Field.
    Things got worrisome for Los Alamos early, when Pedro Limus headed in a textbook corner kick from Jose Encina for the first score of the ballgame. Then the Jaguars all but finished off the contest with a goal early in the second half with Alexis Romo, who had a big goal in their first meeting of the season, scoring on a breakaway chance.
    Now, Los Alamos (7-8-2 overall, 2-2 in 2-5A) can finish no better than second in the district race and is in a position where it can’t afford another district loss without risking the possibility of losing out on the upcoming playoffs altogether.