By Arnie Leshin
Well, what do you know? The idle St. Michael’s baseball team got help yesterday from West Las Vegas.
When District 2-3A cross-town rivals first-place Robertson and the Dons took the field at WLV, the Horsemen’s late surge had them making a bid to overtake the Cardinals after going from fourth place to third, a half-game behind West Las Vegas.
And for Robertson to be caught, St. Michael’s had to sweep its final five regular-season games and the Cards had to lose at least twice in their last five games. Well, as the Horsemen (6-3-1, 12-8-1) travel up to fifth place Raton (2-7, 3-15) today for a district doubleheader, they inched closer in the standings as the Dons nipped Robertson, 2-1.
WLV is now 7-3 in district play (12-6 overall) and a half-game ahead of St. Michael’s, but the Horsemen won two of three versus the Dons and thus have the tiebreaker.
As for the Cardinals, they are perched on top at 7-2-1 (13-7-1 overall) and have a make-up game scheduled at home Tuesday against the Horsemen, for on April 6, the two played to a 3-3 tie in a game called by darkness in the eighth inning.
After that, St. Michael’s has a twin bill against last place Santa Fe Prep (0-9, 2-9) and Robertson is home for two versus fourth place Santa Fe Indian School (6-4, 14-7). Then the team on top of the heap will get the higher seed for the state tournament, and have the advantage.
Yesterday, the visiting Cards had the quick advantage, scoring once in the top of first. But that was where it remained as the tight contest was still 1-0 when West Las Vegas batted in the last of the seventh.
And then the Dons finally reached the scoring column with two runs and the exciting victory. Just like that, one run in the first was overcome by two in the final frame, the seventh.
Sophomore right-hander Omar Gallario pitched the distance for the home side, allowing just that one run and yielding but three hits. Offensively, he was helped by his team’s three stolen bases and three double plays, .as well as from senior James Archuleta, who drove home the tiebreaking winning run.
Robertson starter Anthony Bustamante helped, too, by issuing 10 walks, and that offset the senior’s eight strikeouts.
And all the while, the St. Michael’s team was at practice and getting set for the ride to Raton, which previously lost, 11-1, to the Horsemen, who gained some ground without even playing.