Demons had gone scoreless in their last five outings, but blanked the Horsemen after also defeating them in the annual Jim Pierce Memorial Invitational at St. Michael’s
By Arnie Leshin
Oh those base on balls. They can help one team to victory, they can help the other team change pitchers before it brings more damage.
All was in favor of visiting Santa Fe High, which had lost five-straight scoreless games in District 2-6A, so this 10-0 non district win on Tuesday was no doubt satisfying.
“This was a big weight off our chest,” said Demons’ head coach Ian Farris. “We hadn’t scored in five games, so we’ll always take that.”
It was a scoreless pitcher’s dual matching the Horsemen’s Eric Romero against Santa Fe High’s James Catanach when the Demons came to bat in the top of the fourth inning. Both teams had four hits each and Romero had thrown only 24 pitches in retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced.
He had no problem getting lead-off hitter Catanach to hit the first pitch for a ground out. Then Romero had a hard time finding the plate. Twelve of his next 18 pitches were balls and led to three walks in a row to load the bases. Junior Dominick Crawford then popped up to shortstop Derek Martinez, and up stepped senior Zach Russell.
It was only his second start since breaking his hand against the Horsemen in the final of the annual Jim Pierce Memorial tournament last month, and he came through with a two-run single that proved to be all the runs his team would need in advancing to 8-10 overall.
“We’ve been working on our hitting,” Russell said. “The coach isn’t very happy with that and is anxious to see us finally score.”
On his fourth-straight base on balls, St. Michael’s head coach Augustin Ruiz removed Romero. The sophomore’s last pitch was a walk to Catanach and scored junior Alan Schmidt to up the lead to 5-0.
Meanwhile, Catanach had had to survive a threat when the Horsemen batted in the last of the first frame. The bags were full with no out after two-straight singles and a walk. But senior Sean Latham grounded to senior Nathan Hield at third and he threw out senior James Hena at home plate. Senior Jonah Baca then struck out and Romero popped up weakly to first base to end the threat.
“I started hitting my location and kept my composure, said Catanach, a junior, “and I kept the ball low, didn’t want anybody hitting it in the air.”
After that, he allowed only a single off the bat of freshman Thomas Erickson, and a walk to Romero in the fourth before Farris replaced him with senior reliever Rick Pringle.
St. Michael’s, following the district sweep over visiting Taos, has now gone scoreless in its last nine innings as it plays a district doubleheader on Thursday at Pojoaque Valley,
We’d like to win these rivalry games,” Ruiz said, “but we have to look at the big picture, and for me, the big focus is on the district. We want to win district or finish near the top and put ourselves in position for a good seed by the end of May.”
The Horsemen dropped to 12-9 overall and are right in the chase for first place in District 2-4A. Not so for the Demons in 2-6A, as they hold down last place. Until the fourth frame, their scoreless streak reached 37 innings.
Then it took a 7-run fourth to bring them a second win over their neighboring rivals after they won the Pierce tournament for the second year in a row.Now the two teams return to taking care of business in district play.