'Toppers get swept in 2-4A twinbill

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By Mike Cote

BERNALILLO — After falling victim to a sweep Saturday against the Bernalillo Spartans, the Los Alamos Hilltopper softball team is in a bit of precarious spot in District 2-4A.
Los Alamos took on Bernalillo Saturday with a chance to grab at least a piece of first place in the 2-4A standings, but instead, now must win a big game Wednesday to keep its chances for a runner-up finish alive.
The Hilltoppers (10-12 overall, 4-4 in 2-4A) were hit hard early in both ends of the doubleheader. Bernalillo scored seven runs in the first two innings of game one, then scored four runs in the bottom of the first of game two to earn the sweep.
Bernalillo took the first game 8-1, then won the second game 5-2.
Spartan star pitcher Demi Madalena threw complete games in both ends of the doubleheader. The one run she allowed in the first game came off a rare balk call — the game’s umpires were calling both Madalena and Hilltopper starting pitcher Jordan Hammock ridiculously tight when it came to perceived irregularities in throwing motions, so much so that Los Alamos actually played most of the game under protest.
Madalena then allowed just one earned run in the second game, solo home run by Kiana Zerr in the third inning.
Despite being held to just three runs in the two games, Los Alamos did a much better job getting the bat on the ball Saturday than it did in an April 2 game in White Rock, where Madalena struck out 14 batters and allowed just four hits.
However, the Spartan defense, which is one of the weakest aspects of their game, came up big, particularly first baseman Dee Lopez, who made three outstanding stretches to save what might have been errant throws to the bag for key outs.
Bernalillo (14-4, 5-1) sent seven batters to the plate in the first inning of game one. Lopez had the big blow of the inning, a two-run single.
In the second inning, the Spartans sent eight hitters to the plate, scoring four times.
In game two, Lopez hit a two-run home run to help her team jump out to a 4-0 lead after one. Zerr held Bernalillo to just one run over the next six innings, but, following her home run, Los Alamos managed to scratch out just one run itself, that coming in the sixth when Hannah Mojica singled home Alyssa Mojica to cut the Spartan advantage to 5-2.
Wednesday, Los Alamos will travel to Santa Fe for the rubber match between the two teams. The teams split a doubleheader in White Rock April 5 with Los Alamos bouncing back in game two after losing by six runs to the Demons in game one.
The Demons (13-5, 6-2) have a two-game lead over the Hilltoppers in the district standings and are the only 2-4A team to have taken a game off Bernalillo so far.