FARMINGTON — As the Connie Mack regular season winds down, teams are getting their final warm-up games in before the city tournament.
The Rivercats were able to hold off Bloomfield 8-7 on Wednesday night at Ricketts Park.
The Piedra Vista developmental team built an 8-2 lead on the Bombers with four runs in the top of the fifth inning, but Bloomfield scored five runs of its own in the bottom of the fifth thanks to four walks and two hit batters from the Rivercats pitchers.
"We just have to throw more strikes," said Rivercats' head coach Lars Baker. "We have to find a way to get the ball over the plate and force them to put the ball in play."
Logan Klunder threw scoreless sixth and seventh innings for the Rivercats to earn the save and end the Bombers comeback attempt.
Throughout the summer, Baker has seen his team grow more with each game, and he thinks that the lessons learned will carry over into the next high school season.
"We're growing as a team and learning to trust each other," he said. "We're blending five varsity guys with five JV guys, and that's where we've seen the growth."
Starting pitcher Philip Archuleta earned the victory for the Rivercats, allowing one run on four hits in three innings.
The Rivercats will open the Connie Mack City Tournament against the Aces on Monday, with the winner facing off against Naa'taanii.
"The Naa'taanii that will be there, whenever we play them, I'm sure will be their big guns," Baker said. "It's tough to put kids going into their junior year against kids going or returning from college, but we'll do the best we can. We have to get by the Aces first, though. We've had some good games with them."
The loss by the Bombers ended their Connie Mack season as they'll be the only team in the eight-team league not competing in the city tournament.
"We had a couple of guys that already had prior engagements, so we were short (a couple players)," said Bombers' head coach Frank DeHoyos. "So our Connie Mack bunch isn't in the tournament, but our Mickey Mantle bunch will be. I wish we could have played in the Connie Mack tournament, but it's hard with only Bloomfield kids."
DeHoyos said the team accomplished what they hoped to coming into the league, which was to improve and prepare for next spring's state baseball tournament.
"We've had a lot of growing pains, but we've gotten better," he said. "If you look back at the last couple of games against the Rivercats, they were run-rule losses. Now, we had a chance to win in the bottom of the seventh. So we've grown, and we're already stronger as a program. They've learned a lot, and hopefully, it carries over."
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.