Big 'Topper rallies lift team to victory

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BERNALILLO — The Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team handed out its second pummeling of the season to the Bernalillo Spartans Wednesday.
However, despite the lopsided score, the Hilltoppers didn’t put their best foot forward in Wednesday’s District 2-4A opener at Coach Dave Rostro Park.
Los Alamos scored all of its runs in two innings, the second and fifth, to put the Spartans away early. The Spartans scraped together runs in the first and second innings, but the Hilltoppers prevailed going away, 14-3.
The win was the fifth in a row for Los Alamos (7-8, 1-0 in 2-4A), which may be starting to hit its stride following a rough beginning of the season.
It was also an important win over Bernalillo, which more years than not is a serious district contender but is struggling so far and could be relegated to duking it out with Capital for the 2-4A basement.
Even with the double-digit, 5-inning win, the Hilltoppers didn’t have spark that manager Mike Gill had seen in big games from his team this year, something that didn’t sit too well with the veteran skipper.
“Our mental focus was not good today,” said Gill following the victory. “We just had two big innings, but the game today was closer. We showed up and we just thought we should win. That’s the feeling I got.”
Los Alamos runs all came in bunches. It scored eight times in the second inning and six more in the top of the fifth to close out the contest.
In the fifth, Los Alamos strung together six hits and drew a couple of walks to pull away from the Spartans (0-13). The Spartans struggled on defense, which helped pave the way for the big Hilltopper second inning.
Offensively, Collin Kitts was one of four Los Alamos batters with multi-hit games, including coming through with one of the big blows of the game, a fifth inning triple. Jared Mang had three hits for Los Alamos, while Connor Mang and Wesley Moss both added a pair of hits.
Jared Mang got the starting nod on the bump. He threw a complete game, allowed just four hits and didn’t allow an earned run.
Los Alamos is the four-time defending champion in 2-4A and has a chance to jump out as the district’s front-runner with a doubleheader Saturday in Santa Fe.
Santa Fe, however, hits the ball well and has put up decent run totals most of the season.