LAHS softball drops thriller to Academy

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By Phil Scherer

In a back-and-forth battle between former district rivals, the Los Alamos High School softball team came up just short, losing 14-13 to Albuquerque Academy at Overlook Park. 

Trailing 14-11 in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, it appeared the Hilltoppers would go down quietly. The first two batters of the inning went down on a groundout and a strikeout, putting the Chargers one out from victory. 

Alicia Gonzales popped up to the second baseman on a play that looked like it would end the game, but none of the Academy fielders went for the ball and it dropped in, giving LAHS new life. 

Janessa Gonzales was hit by a pitch, and Claire Bluhm singled in Alicia Gonzales, cutting the lead to 14-12. 

Katie Wimer, the Hilltopper starting pitcher, lined a double into the left field gap, scoring Janessa Gonzales and advancing Bluhm, the potential game tying run to third base. 

The drama ended with the next batter, Maya McMillan, though. She popped the ball up to the pitcher, ending the game and allowing the Chargers to escape with a 14-13 victory. 

The craziness started much earlier, though. 

Academy struck for five runs in the top of the first inning, and LAHS immediately answered back with eight runs, giving the Hilltoppers an 8-5 lead. 

LAHS was held silent over the next several innings,though, while Academy continued to chip away. The Chargers struck for one run in the third inning and exploded for another four runs in the top of the fourth inning, taking a 10-8 lead. 

LAHS temporarily got back into the lead in the fifth inning thanks to four singles in a row. The rally gave the Hilltoppers an 11-10 lead, but could have been much more secure. With no outs and Alicia Gonzales on second base, Janessa Gonzales sacrifice bunted to advance the runner to third base. She never advanced farther than third base, though, as the next two batters struck out and grounded out to third base. 

Academy seized back all momentum immediately, as the Chargers tied the game in the sixth inning and struck for three more runs in the top if the seventh inning to take the 14-11 lead. 

The Chargers proved capable of sustained rallies throughout the game, sending nine batters to the plate in two separate innings. Due to the constant rallies, Academy leadoff batter Ryan Miller led off in five of the seven innings in the game, a rarity in baseball or softball. 

The loss drops LAHS to 4-5 overall. This weekend, the team will compete in the Kristin Griego Varsity Tournament in Rio Rancho. This is one of the most prestigious midseason tournaments in New Mexico, pitting 30 of the top teams in the state against each other in a three-day event.