’Toppers open district play at home

-A A +A

Baseball-Softball > LA teams take on Bernalillo in first 2-4A contest

By Mike Cote

Warm-up time is over. Now the Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball and softball teams will get the bulk of their schedules going.
The Hilltopper teams will open up District 2-4A play Wednesday. Both teams will be at home to take on the Bernalillo Spartans at 4 p.m.
In district play, teams face off three times with each opponent, a doubleheader at one team’s home and a single game at the other’s.
The Hilltopper baseball team will be seeking its sixth consecutive district crown, and right now, may be the front-runner to claim it.
Los Alamos has had among the toughest schedules in 4A this season. The Hilltoppers faced defending 4A champ St. Pius X, Albuquerque Academy and Piedra Vista three times, among other quality opponents it faced.
With its mark of 8-6 on the season, Los Alamos is one of just two teams with a winning record in the district. Heading into this weekend, Española Valley, which appears to be Los Alamos’ main competitor for the 2-4A crown, boasted a mark of 7-4.
Santa Fe was near the .500 mark, but Capital and Bernalillo have struggled for much of the nondistrict season.
While Capital’s struggles were expected, the Spartans, who have been generally competitive over the last five seasons, haven’t gotten on track yet.
But, much like the Hilltoppers, the Spartans (3-10) haven’t played a slouch of a schedule. They’ve faced Belen, St. Pius and Los Lunas, although they weren’t competitive in those contests, losing them by a combined 41-4.
Bernalillo has just four seniors on the squad and a slew of sophomores.
Last season, the Spartans finished as the 2-4A runners-up. They posted a solid 8-4 record — they were just 1-15 in nondistrict games — but finished three full games behind the Hilltoppers.
In softball, Los Alamos was second in the standings last season to Bernalillo. Bernalillo went 11-1 in district play to claim the title, led by its outstanding pitcher Demi Magdelena.
Magdalena is one of the hardest throwers in the state and the Spartans leaned on her heavily throughout 2-4A play.
That will likely be the case again as she returns for her senior year. Last year, Magdelena was named the district’s MVP.
The Hilltoppers, meanwhile, are sitting at 5-6 on the year — Los Alamos won 2 of 3 games Friday at the Rio Rancho Invitational but Saturday’s scores were unavailable as of press time. The Hilltoppers have swung the bat well in recent games, scoring 44 combined runs against Moriarty, Pojoaque Valley and St. Pius prior to this weekend’s tournament.
Along with Bernalillo, which still appears to be the team to beat in 2-4A, Española Valley was two games above .500 heading into Saturday’s game at Taos, while Santa Fe has a solid, veteran group of returners from a team that finished 14-12 overall in 2013 but had a disappointing 6-6 showing in district.
Last year, the Hilltoppers finished 10-2 in 2-4A, one game behind Bernalillo, and advanced to the state tournament as a No. 12 seed.