By Arnie Leshin
This time it was double-trouble, a doubleheader at the Christian Brothers Athletic Complex against District 2-3 rival Robertson Friday afternoon.
In the opener, the Lady Horseman didn’t have an answer for Cardinal senior right-hander Mckayla Encinlas’ pitching. She went the five innings of the 10-0 win that ended via the mercy rule. She allowed only two hits, only one out of the infield, and struck out five as the visitors moved into a first place district tie with idle Santa Fe Indian School, both at 4-1.
Overall Robertson advanced to 10-8 and bounced back from Tuesday’s loss at Indian School. As for Encinlas, she again toiled in the circle and combined her hurling with her hitting as the Cards took a big lead and held off the late challenge of the home team in the second-game 18-12 slugfest.
This dropped St. Michael’s to 5-11 overall and 1-5 in district. Errors and misplays contributed to the sweep and new Lady Horseman head coach Joe Alvarez wasn’t too happy about it. He even pointed out where some of the miscues came from.
In referring to the closer, he said: “We had chances to get out of there, and we didn’t. We gotta make them. Easy fly ball to second, we should have caught that. We had a drop over there (in left field), a couple got by us over there (on the left side of the infield). We played a lot better defense than we have, until the end there.”
The lack of hitting in the opener also hurt. All St. Michael’s could collect was a bunt single, a walk to senior Cia Alvarez, and a base hit from Rachel Morgan that made it to the outfield. But Robertson had the game well in hand.
The second game almost matched the first as Robertson was headed for another shortened mercy-rule ending. In this one, it increased a 4-0 lead to 8-0. Encinlas went 3-for-5 and began the scoring with a two-run single in the second inning. She also added another RBI. But probably tiring after pitching and hitting, she had to hold off the Lady Horsemen threat as they closed to within 18-13 in the seventh.
Her wary day than ended when she struck out senior Michelle Salazar. It cut short a challenge by St. Michael’s as it went from a 12-2 deficit heading into the last of the sixth. Here, it came up with three-straight singles and loaded the bases for Isabel Lopez to drive home two runs, and five more came across the plate to cup the gap 12-9.
But the Cards responded on a pair of errors that contributed to five more runs and an 18-9 advantage.