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  • Hilltopper softball drops two district games to Tigers

     The road to a district championship got much tougher for the Los Alamos High School softball team last weekend, as the team dropped both games of a road doubleheader to Taos. LAHS lost the first game 8-3, and the second game 5-4 

    Heading into the doubleheader, Taos had won only one game all season, but had been defeated in extra innings on three separate occasions.

    LAHS entered the doubleheader on a roll, dominating the first two district games against Moriarty and Española Valley. The dangerous offense the Hilltoppers showed through the first two district games was missing in Taos, though, as LAHS struggled to put together a sustained offensive rally. 

    In the first game, LAHS fell behind 4-2 after the first five innings. 

    Alicia Gonzales had a one-out double, but was stranded in the fifth inning as the next two batters were unable to move her over. 

    Taos extended the lead in the sixth inning, going ahead 8-2 and putting the game out of reach for the Hilltoppers. 

  • LAHS baseball prepares for tough test against Pintos

    Heading into this weekend’s doubleheader against Moriarty, the Los Alamos High School baseball team remains locked in a battle atop the District 2-4A standings with the Pintos. 

    LAHS enters the two contests with a record of 4-1 in district play, while the Pintos have a 5-1 record. 

    The Hilltoppers kept pace with Moriarty with a 6-4 win against Pojoaque Valley Tuesday night at Bomber Field. In that game, the top of the Hilltopper order remained one of the biggest strengths of the team, as Arthur Steinkamp went 3-3 at the plate and drove in a run, while Antonio Gonzales and Hunter Swavely each had a hit and drove in two runs apiece. 

    Swavely had one of the most important hits in the game, a run-scoring triple that helped LAHS to gain the advantage. 

    Pitching also remained consistent for the Hilltoppers, as Luke Kirkland started the game on the mound for LAHS and went four innings, allowing four runs and striking out a pair of batters. 

  • Atomic City Update: Umpires and referees must remain objective for games to be fair

     I have so much respect for umpires and officials in any sport, especially at the lower levels of competition. They do thankless work and get compensated very poorly for it. They give up large chunks of their lives, just so kids can play and have fun competing. That said, I expect umpires and referees to conduct games in a fair manner, something I was extremely disappointed did not happen over the weekend. 

    At the April 13 baseball game between Taos and Los Alamos High School, I saw numerous examples of umpires stepping out of their roles and clearly favoring one team over the other. 

    Throughout the game, the strike zone on Taos batters was much smaller than the zone for the LAHS batters, leading to unfair strikeouts, and forcing Hilltopper batters to swing at pitchers they never normally would. 

  • LAHS softball gets back on track with win over Pojoaque

    After struggling last weekend in Taos, the Los Alamos High School softball team got back on track Tuesday afternoon, taking down district-leading Pojoaque Valley 14-10 at Overlook Park. 

    Heading in, it was close to a must-win game for the Hilltoppers. The team was 2-2 in district play, while Pojoaque entered with a 5-0 district record. For LAHS to have a chance at the District 2-4A championship, getting a win against the Elkettes would be a step in the right direction. 

    LAHS came onto the field with a sense of urgency and jumped on top right away. After the Elkettes scored a run in the top of the first inning, LAHS responded immediately with 5 runs.

    The first two batters of the inning, Megan Romero and Janessa Gonzales, both struck out. Gonzales was able to reach first base though, as the third strike got away from the catcher. That was the opening LAHS needed, as the next five batters picked up base hits, including back-to-back triples from Alicia Gonzales and Savana Luster. The offensive explostion was exactly what LAHS needed, especially after struggling with the bats in Taos. 

  • LAHS baseball drops final non-district contest

    Throughout the first half of the season, the strengths of the Los Alamos High School baseball team have been consistent pitching and a resilient offensive attack. In Friday afternoon’s home opener against Aztec, both of those skills were on display at times. Unfortunately for the Hilltoppers, though, the Tigers proved to be even more resilient, rallying from three runs down to spoil LAHS’ Bomber Field debut with a 7-6 victory.

    The Hilltoppers entered the game on a six-game winning streak, including a come from behind victory against Moriarty in the team’s district opener. 

    Early on in the home opener, the ball appeared to be bouncing in LAHS’ direction, as catcher Luke Kirkland threw out a pair of would-be base stealers in the first two innings, first erasing a single by Aztec leadoff man Zack Taylor and later erasing a walk to pitcher Carson Adcock. 

    The Hilltoppers seized the opportunity, jumping on top in the first inning. Arthur Steinkamp, LAHS’ starting pitching, laid down a perfect bunt in front of the plate and beat the throw to first base to set up a rally. He advanced to second base on a fielder’s choice and went to third base on a wild pitch. 

  • LAHS softball scores 21 in win over Española

    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. 

  • Hilltoppers dominate Moriarty in district opener

    Following an up-and-down non-district season, the Los Alamos High School softball team got the district season started with an impressive 18-3 win over Moriarty on the road. 

    Junior Katie Wimer did the most damage for the Hilltoppers, going 4-4 including a grand slam in the fourth inning that allowed LAHS to win by the mercy rule. In addition to her grand slam, Wimer also hit a pair of doubles and a single, picking up 5 RBI. 

    Wimer has emerged as one of the top hitters in New Mexico. Following Tuesday’s performance, Wimer is batting .658 this season with three home runs and 23 RBI. She has also scored 16 times. Overall, she has only been retired 13 times in 44 trips to the plate. 

    Against the Pintos, LAHS went up 4-0 after the first inning thanks to RBI hits from Claire Bluhm and Maya McMillan, as the Hilltoppers batted around in the opening frame. 

    The team picked up two more runs in the second inning and could have had more, but the ball didn’t bounce in their favor. 

  • LAHS golf teams dominate at Academy

    The golf teams at Los Alamos High School got the spring season off to a great start, as both teams picked up convincing victories at the Albuquerque Academy Invitational Monday. 

    The boys’ team, hoping to repeat as state champions this year, won the event by 23 strokes over host school Albuquerque Academy. The Hilltoppers finished with a score of 303, while Academy followed behind with a team score of 324. Rio Rancho earned third place with a score of 355. 

    Overall, the Hilltopper boys claimed three of the top four individual scores. Henry Poston was the individual champion with a score of 71, while Davis Johnson and Jacob Benelli tied for third place with scores of 76. This is the second time this season that Poston has won the individual title. 

    Also competing for the Hilltoppers were Conner Cook, who scored an 80, Landon Burk, who posted a 90 and Sahib Khalsa, who finished with a score of 92. 

    The girls also dominated their side of the event, finishing with a team score of 342. St. Pius finished in second place with a team score of 385 and Albuquerque Academy was third with a score of 406.

  • Atomic City Update: Year-round sports participation could lead to trouble in the future

    As exciting as every new baseball season is, it seems like at the end of the first weekend, several star players are hurt and out for the season, putting a damper on what should be a moment to celebrate.

    The biggest examples this year are Milwaukee Brewers closer Cory Knebel, who is out with an elbow injury, and New York Yankees third baseman Miguel Andujar, who may require season-ending shoulder surgery.

    Examples like this pop up every season, and sends teams into immediate scramble mode. Some of these injuries are unpredictable and unexplainable. But others can be prevented, and often result from an athlete pushing their body too hard too fast.  

    It makes me worry about the high school athletes I watch every day. Many of them compete in sports the entire year, whether they play on club teams for their primary sport or compete in several different sports at the high school.

    I worry about overuse at such a young age. No other level of athletics encourages people to compete year-round. There is a level of recovery needed at the end of a season, and many athletes don’t take the time to do that. Once one season ends, it’s right into the next one.

  • Strong support system helps Ramos thrive on the mat

    A great support system can take a person from good to great and LAHS wrestler, Gloria Ramos, highlights there is proof in the pudding. After a season she described as a as a struggle with a lot of ups and downs, she stepped up and achieved great success, some new friends and an increased goal to succeed even more.

    “At first I wasn’t going to wrestle and had originally decided to only attend practices without participating in tournaments,” said Ramos. “I missed competing pretty quickly and changed my mind. Now that I look back, I feel it was a relatively good year.”

    A “relatively good year,” includes placing first at the inaugural all-girls high school wrestling tournament in Aztec, and bringing home a third-place medal, at the State Wrestling Championships, and second place at the Greater Southwest Nationals Tournament. Her success has inspired her to continue wrestling year-round, so she can get some more time on the mat.