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AZTEC — A bright pink bat with a lime green wrap on the handle ignited the Aztec baseball team as the Tigers rolled to a 13-2 victory over Kirtland Central today.

After the Tigers broke a bat in the second and third innings, the team unleashed the pink stick in the fourth inning and drove in seven runs in the inning.

"The kids were having fun with it. They'd walk out and say, 'This is for my mom,' or 'This is for my grandma' with breast cancer awareness," Aztec coach Wes Laplatt said. "We talk about (breast cancer awareness) a lot because my mom is a three-time survivor. It became a fun thing for us, and when you have fun with baseball, the stress and energy changes."

The pink bat outburst in the fourth saw two home runs from the Tigers, including a two-run blast over the centerfield wall from sophomore Zach Taylor.

Cody Smith got the win for the Tigers. The win was the Smith's second over the Broncos, who fell to Smith and the Tigers 18-3 on April 8 in Kirtland.

The lopsided loss is another misstep in what has been a strange season for the Broncos. A week ago, they knocked off Miyamura, which sits atop the District 1-5A standings, 5-4 in nine innings in Gallup, but the Broncos also have suffered three losses — two to Aztec and one to Farmington — by a combined 31 runs in district play.

"(Wednesday) we talked at practice, and I told the guys, 'We just beat the team that's in first place right now.' We can go out and do those things, but the mental block against Aztec and Farmington is a little different," KC coach Danny Secrest said. "Now it's time to step up and play with these 5A schools. We have just as much talent as them. We just need to figure it out a little bit."

KC will get a chance to avenge its 10-0 loss to Farmington on Saturday when the Broncos host the Scorps.

Aztec will play at Bloomfield, which has dropped six of its last seven games, Saturday.

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

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