AZTEC — For the first time in a long time, the Aztec Tigers won their own baseball tournament.
Powered by 13 hits at the plate and 13 strikeouts on the mound by ace pitcher Tyson Curley, Aztec defeated Moriarty 15-3 in five innings in the championship game of the Aztec Baseball Tournament.
"The biggest thing we are talking to the kids about is if they believe in themselves and come together as a team, we have the talent to be like Miyamura last year, who made a late run and got to the title game," said Aztec assistant coach Brett Alexander. "We aren't there yet. I understand we are playing well right now, but we have to carry it for another two months through the season. We can't peak too early."
Curley, a Division I verbal commit, worked well on the mound despite miserable weather conditions.
He allowed just four hits and walked four while surrendering three runs.
"One thing I talked to him about all offseason and early this season so far is not just being a guy who goes up and throws hard. Everyone in the state knows he throws hard," Alexander said. "To be the ace of the staff and carry us deep on the season, he had to learn to pitch. He has really done a better job of that the last two games against Farmington and now against Moriarty. Today, he probably had three or four strikeouts on curveballs. In three years of coaching him, I haven't seen that from him in one game until this one. It is nice to see him spot up his off-speed pitches."
After defeating Espanola Valley in come-from-behind fashion 9-8 in eight innings on Friday, Alexander said the hot hitting carried over to Saturday's game.
"We got a scare yesterday. Coming from behind and getting a good win carried over to today. We came out swinging," Alexander said. "It was good to see them get that approach and carry it over."
Dalton Watson was 2-for-3 in the game with a home run in the first inning.
Also going 2-for-3 at the plate was Randy LePlatt, Noah Frohn and Curley. Tanner Moore was
"Everybody in the lineup had at least one hit today," Alexander said. "The biggest thing we have seen the last two days is Frohn getting started. He saw the ball well early in the year but missed four games when his dad had heart surgery in Albuquerque. It is tough to lose 15 at bats this early in the season and get your timing down, but he is coming up huge in our lineup as a kid with tremendous power who can hit it out of any ball park. He is hitting eight-hole. Most teams think they can get to a bottom of the order and be OK. All of a sudden there is a guy like Frohn driving in runs all over the place."
Alexander said the biggest positive for Aztec on Saturday was that the team committed zero errors in the field.
"It is nice to see that, especially as hard as the wind was blowing out toward right field," he said. "When you have your ace on the mound, you want to play clean ball behind him and we finally did it."
Aztec is back in action at home on Tuesday against San Juan High out of Blanding, Utah.
John Livingston may be reached at email@example.com or 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.