Tigers baseball closes season with class

By Sheila Miller
The Taos News
sports@taosnews.com
Posted 5/9/19

The girls' softball team arrived from Española Valley for their 11 a.m. game Saturday (May 4) right on the adjacent softball field on schedule, but the …

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Tigers baseball closes season with class

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The girls' softball team arrived from Española Valley for their 11 a.m. game Saturday (May 4) right on the adjacent softball field on schedule, but the baseball team was nowhere in sight. They'd expected a bus, but none showed, and so they made their way to Taos High School for the double-header in cars.

Taos needed to win both games by 10 runs to have a shot at the playoffs.

Game 1: Taos 18, Española Valley 8

One might have expected the Sundevils to come out flat-footed after all that confusion and rush, but they didn't.

By the second inning the score was tied up at 7. The pace slowed a bit in the third. After Jalen Montano got two strikeouts, Española hit a hot one straight at Enrique Archuleta, who got a glove on it but not the out. "Spicy!" called the Taos third baseman.

The bottom of the third saw a single from Brandon Martinez, but no runs. The Tigers made short work of the top of the fourth, sending the Sundevils back to the field in only a few batters.

The fourth was also a strong offensive inning for the Tigers. Taos opened the inning with a single from Herman Perez followed by a good hit by Montano but an excellent catch by the Española Valley right fielder. Archuleta stepped to the plate and served up his specialty - an in-field home run, giving Taos a 9-7 lead.

Noah Armijo walked to first and then came home on a single from Martinez hit deep to center field. Martinez subsequently stole home, making it 11-7. Base hits from Nick Fresquez Anthony Maestas and Isaiah Montano closed the inning at 12-7.

There was a friendly, cordial conversation between Española Valley and Taos fans, who joked about which family members they had playing for which teams between the simultaneous baseball and softball games. It was clearly a contest between neighbors.

There was no score in the top of the fifth. With the Tigers batting, Quinn Moon got a single, then stole second. Armijo turned a single into a double with the Sundevils were slow at home plate, and Moon managed to cover two bases, giving Taos a 13-7 lead. With two outs, a double from 18 got Armijo home, and the inning ended 14-7.

The Sundevils put one on the board in the sixth. With a score of 14-8, the Tigers needed four runs to end the game under the 10-run rule. With one out, Perez got on base with a single, then made his way to second. Archuleta was hit with a pitch, then stole second. One runner was tagged out, leaving the Tigers with two outs. Moon was walked, then a looping single from 18 dropped slowly enough to bring two runner home, 16-8. Moon and 18 made their way to third and second, and a single from 15 brought them both home, ending the game 18-8.

Game 2: Taos 12, Española Valley 2

After a 30-minute break, the teams took the field for their second game.

The Sundevils got two on the board early, but weren't able to manage more. By the end of the third, it was 4-2 Taos, then 5-2 by the end of the fifth.

The girls of the Española Valley softball team, being in possession of the only bus, were compelled to wait for the game to end before they could all return home together. On another day, this might have mattered less, but Saturday (May 4) was prom for Española Valley High School. As the game plodded along, one could almost see missed nail and hair appointments accumulating.

Once again, the Tigers split the sixth inning wide open. Six runs into the bottom of the sixth, with a score of 11-2 and one run away from ending the game under the 10-run rule, Taos had a runner on third. Head coach Miguel Quintana signaled to the referees that he wanted to substitute a designated runner.

Senior and player manager Israel "Izzy" Barrett-Vasquez, wearing number 27, stepped onto third base, ready to run. The pitch went a bit wild, and Barrett-Vasquez took off for home plate. To cheers from both sides, he crossed the plate, scoring the winning run to close the season.

The Maxpreps ranking algorithms put Taos as the 14th 4A team in the state, but when the state tournament brackets were released by the NMAA, the Tigers weren't in one of the top 16 spots and won't be in the state tournament this year.

Still, the Tigers sent the season off in style.

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