Broncos top Bobcats 3-2 in District 1-5A opener

Kirtland Central comes out on top in pitcher's duel

Karl Schneider
  • KC's Bryson Dowdy hit an RBI double for the go-ahead run in the top of the seventh inning.
  • Bloomfield's Nolan McKim blasted a two-run home run over the left field wall to tie the game at 2-2.

BLOOMFIELD — If the rest of the District 1-5A baseball schedule plays out like the opener between Kirtland Central and Bloomfield today, baseball fans are in for an exciting five weeks.

Kirtland Central shortstop Cochise Sorrelhorse throws to first base for an out against Bloomfield on Tuesday at John Gutierrez Field in Bloomfield.

The Broncos and Bobcats dueled for seven innings before KC pulled out a 3-2 win at John Gutierrez Field for just their second win in their last 10 games against Bloomfield.

Pitching highlighted the game with starters Zach Van Duran for KC and Brendon Charley for Bloomfield battling back and forth to keep opposing batters out of rhythm.

Van Duran earned the win while Charley pitched five and a third innings to come away with no decision.

"I thought he competed like a dog," KC coach Danny Secrest said of Van Duran. "I said back when the season began that he was going to be the guy. He'll play wherever we put him, and he'll sell out for us."

Kirtland Central's Zach Van Duran pitches against Bloomfield on Tuesday at John Gutierrez Field in Bloomfield.

While Charley was great for the Bobcats, Bloomfield coach Frank DeHoyos said the Bobcats made a couple of mistakes in the field that he thought were the difference between a win and a loss.

"Brendon threw his tail off. He didn't give up an earned run. It's tough to look a guy in the face and tell him he didn't get the win after not giving up an earned run," DeHoyos said. "This is 1-5A baseball — you have to be ready. We have to find our mental toughness. That's what we're built on, and if we don’t find it, it's going to be a long season."

The Broncos struck first. With runners on first and second with two outs in the top of the first, Caden Flack hit a line drive to left field that rolled under the glove of left fielder JT Seitzinger. The ball rolled to the wall in left, allowing both runners to score on the error and Flack to reach third.

Bloomfield answered in the bottom of the second with a two-out two-run home run from Nolan McKim, who took a fastball over the left field wall.

Bloomfield's Nolan McKim is congratulated by head coach Frank DeHoyos after hitting a two-run home run against Kirtland Central on Tuesday at John Gutierrez Field in Bloomfield.

"That couldn't have happened to a better kid in our program. He's absolutely worked his tail off since Day One he got into the program as an eighth-grader. He sparked us from the seven hole, and it's what we were looking for. We just couldn't jump on board and keep it going."

KC junior Bryson Dowdy provided the winning run in the top of the seventh. With the score tied 2-2, Dowdy drove a pitch to the gap in right-center field for an RBI double that scored Zach Van Duran from second.

Secrest said he was happy with the Broncos' ability to stay mentally focused throughout the close game.

"I thought it was great. I think from a baseball sense, it's starting to get into their blood a little bit, and I'm hoping that will happen a little more and more as we go on in the season," he said. "That's a 3-2 ball game, and you don't know what's going to happen in a close game."

Bloomfield had its chances in the bottom of the inning. McKim drew a walk and advanced to third. But with two away, Van Duran got Noah Gurule to ground out to end the game, stranding McKim on third.

On Friday, KC will host Aztec while Bloomfield heads to Gallup to face Miyamura.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.