LAHS softball scores 21 in win over Española

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By Phil Scherer

The Los Alamos High School softball continued its impressive start to district play at home this week, defeating Española Valley 21-11 Tuesday afternoon that ended by the mercy rule after five innings.

This was an important victory for the Hilltoppers, as the team is locked in a battle for the top spot in the district with Pojoaque Valley, which currently sits at 3-0 in district play. LAHS improved to 2-0 with Tuesday’s victory. 

Early on, it appeared the game between the Hilltoppers and Sundevils would be a defensive showdown. Hilltopper starting pitcher Katie Wimer held Española scoreless across the first two innings, and Sundevil pitcher Autumn Vigil held LAHS to one run in the first inning. After that point, though, a slugfest broke out. 

LAHS struck for six runs in the bottom of the second inning. After the first three batters reached with a hit by pitch and two singles, Janessa Gonzales came up with a big hit, a single to drive in a pair of runs. Her teammates kept the line moving as LAHS sent 10 batters to the plate in the big inning that gave LAHS a 7-0 lead. 

The Sundevils answered back with three runs in the next inning to get back in the game. Wimer limited the damage, though, striking out the final batter of the inning with two runners on base. 

Every time Española put runs on the board, the Hilltoppers answered back immediately. LAHS scored four runs in the bottom of the third, extending the lead to 11-3. This included five singles in the inning, keeping constant pressure on the basepaths. 

After the Sundevils scored four runs of the their own in the top of the fourth, LAHS did the same in their half of the inning, always keeping a comfortable lead. The top of the Hilltopper batting order did damage in the fourth inning, lining three consecutive doubles to the wall. This included RBI doubles from Gonzales and Claire Bluhm. 

Española again scored four runs in the top of the fifth, making the score 15-11 LAHS. The Hilltoppers need to score six runs to end the game by the mercy rule, and they got to work right away. 

Halle Warwick reached on an error by the third baseman and scored on a double from Dailynn Rodriguez. Four consecutive hits brought home three more runs, setting up Wimer with a chance to win the game with a home run. 

She wasted no time in doing just that, lining the first pitch she saw over the wall in center field, giving LAHS a 21-11 lead and the victory. It was her team-leading fourth home run of the season. Last week in the district opener against Moriarty, Wimer hit a grand slam. 

With the victory, LAHS improves to 9-7 overall, and 2-0 in district play. 

After a doubleheader on the road against Taos Saturday, LAHS returns home on Tuesday for a matchup with Pojoaque that will help determine the outcome of the district.