LAHS offense falls flat in loss to Hope Christian

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By Phil Scherer

Facing off against Hope Christian, one of the top teams in Class 4A, the Los Alamos High School baseball team had plenty of opportunities to score.

However, a lack of execution and some questionable calls by the umpires sent the home crowd home unhappy, as the Huskies defeated the Hilltoppers 5-1 Thursday night at Bomber Field.

Early on, it appeared the game would be a pitcher’s duel, as the pitchers appeared to be in complete control.

Jacob Rutten started on the mound for LAHS, and began the game with a pair of looking strikeouts, as the Hope batters looked completely lost at the plate. Rutten worked around a double to get out of the first inning without any damage.

The Hilltoppers also had problems early on offense, with a pair of weak groundouts and a lazy fly ball in the first inning.

Rutten picked up another pair of strikeouts in the second inning, both swinging this time, and worked around a walk and a wild pitch.

Vincent Marciano led off the second inning for the Hilltoppers with a walk, and got into scoring position with a single by Luis Bojorquez.

It appeared the Hilltoppers would take the lead when Walker Eaton lined a single into the outfield, but a perfect throw to the catcher got Marciano out, ending the threat and keeping the game scoreless.

Rutten ran into trouble on the mound in the third inning, as Evan Torres smashed a one-out double into the outfield to get things started for the Huskies. Two more singles followed, scoring the first run of the game. The next batter hit a soft grounder to the shortstop James Neal, who threw home to cut off a run.

Instead, the runner got into a run-down and none of the Hilltoppers covered third base, allowing everyone to be safe and loading the bases.

Another single followed, putting Hope Christian in front 2-0, and Rutten collected another strikeout and a weak ground ball to escape further damage.

Despite getting the first two runners on base in the bottom of the third inning, the Hilltoppers couldn’t get a run across the plate, as Luke Kirkland, standing on third base, didn’t tag up to score when James Neal flew out to the right fielder with one out.

After striking out the side in the fourth inning, Rutten ran into more trouble in the fifth inning, giving up a single, followed by a two-run home run, putting Hope Christian in front 4-0.

Rutten came out after the fifth inning, finishing with nine strikeouts and 4 runs allowed.

Hilltopper head coach Bryan Neal was ejected in the fifth inning after arguing with the umpires about a close call at third base where Arthur Steinkamp was called out, though it appeared he was safe.

LAHS got its only run of the game in the sixth inning, as a leadoff walk and a hit-by-pitch were followed by a wild pitch, putting two runners in scoring position. Walker Eaton grounded out to the pitcher, allowing Antonio Gonzales to score and making the score 4-1 Hope Christian.

Hope got the run right back in the seventh inning off of Eaton, the Hilltoppers’ second pitcher of the day. He allowed a leadoff triple that scored on a sacrifice fly, making the score 5-1 Hope, which was the final score.

LAHS’ record drops to 2-3 heading into Monday’s doubleheader against Sandia Prep at Bomber Field. The first game will begin at 3 p.m.