Softball: Toppers sweep Jags on the road

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By Mike Cote

The Los Alamos Hilltopper softball team moved within one game of clinching a spot in the Class AAAA playoffs with a pair of wins Saturday.

Los Alamos blasted the Capital Jaguars Saturday in a late-afternoon twinbill. The Hilltoppers scored six times in the first inning of game one en route to a 14-1 win, then did the same thing in the first inning of game two to beat the Jaguars 19-3.

With the two District 2AAAA victories and a split by Bernalillo against Española Valley Saturday, Los Alamos’ magic number to advance to the Class AAAA state tournament dropped to one.

Los Alamos can officially cement its spot with either a Bernalillo loss against Taos Wednesday or taking either of the two games against Bernalillo’s Spartans in a home doubleheader Saturday.

“We’ll focus on taking care of business against Bernalillo,” Los Alamos manager Randy Burditt said after Saturday’s wins. “We’re going to do our own thing and focus on getting game one from them.”

Ashley Merhege earned the game one victory on the slab, tossing five innings and allowing just the one earned run.

Merhege’s most notable accomplishment Saturday, however, was going a combined 7-for-8 at the plate with seven doubles. She also scored four runs in game two.

In both games, all of Los Alamos’ starting nine scored at least one run.

Steph Abney earned the victory in game two, throwing five innings and giving up three earned runs.

The two wins against the Jaguars (2-22), who are just trying to limp to the finish line of the 2008 season, left Los Alamos’ skipper with little to complain about.

“Offensively, I can’t really say anything bad,” Burditt said. “We made adjustments at the plate and did well with it. We played two clean games defensively.”

Brianna Radosevich went 5-for-7 Saturday with a double and six runs scored. Nyleen Cook had a pair of doubles in game two, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored for the Hilltoppers (11-11 overall, 7-3 in 2AAAA).

The split against Bernalillo by Española Valley leaves the Hilltoppers still mathematically alive for a District 2AAAA crown, but they would need Española Valley’s Sundevils (17-6, 8-1 in district) to come completely unglued in their last three games of the season.