Tigers top Scorps 5-4, join cluster atop 1-5A

Aztec, Farmington, Miyamura all tied with two games left

Karl Schneider

FARMINGTON — With two games left in the regular season, there's a jumble atop the District 1-5A baseball standings after Aztec rallied from a four-run deficit to top Farmington 5-4 today at Ricketts Park.

Aztec first baseman Cody Smith tags out Farmington's Isaiah Royce on Tuesday at Ricketts Park.

The Aztec win pulls the Tigers even with the Scorps and Miyamura, which lost 5-3 to Kirtland Central, putting all three teams at 6-2 in the standings.

"We made a lot of mistakes early. I made a lot of mistakes, and we didn't execute as well as we should have, but we stayed in it emotionally and handled ourselves a lot better. We hung it there," Aztec coach Wes Laplatt said.

Farmington starting pitcher Jac Cordova was as good as the Scorps could have asked for, and they slowly built a four-run lead after four innings, scoring one run in each inning. Two of the runs came on Aztec passed balls, while Ethan Secrest and Dominic Hines drove in a run each.

Farmington's Kody Becenti makes a diving catch in left field on Tuesday at Ricketts Park.

In the top of the fifth, the issue that has plagued Farmington all season returned, as the Scorps committed three errors in the inning, which helped the Tigers score four runs.

"Cordova threw the ball pretty well — he threw well enough to win," Farmington coach Sean Trotter said. "But our Achilles heel this year, other than our anemic offense, is the (inability) to pick up the ball and throw it across the infield. (Cordova) pitched and did a great job, but we couldn't get him out of the inning."

Three of the Tigers four runs in the inning came when junior Dustin Sipe hit a line drive to shallow center. Two runs scored on the hit, then a third came around on a Farmington error.

Sipe scored later in the inning on a Jaden Cruz RBI single that tied the game at 4.

Aztec's Dustin Sipe catches a fly ball ahead of teammate Zach Taylor on Tuesday at Ricketts Park.

Aztec took the lead in the top of the sixth when Farmington sophomore Bradon Zastrow threw a wild pitch that allowed an Aztec runner to score from third.

Immediately after letting the pitch go, Zastrow, a lefty, dropped his glove and grabbed his left elbow in obvious pain. Zastrow left the game but stayed in the dugout until the end, getting his elbow wrapped in ice and put into a sling.

"He had some arm tenderness last week, but he said he was fine and threw a bullpen (session) the other day. Obviously, we're hoping for the best," Trotter said. "He's a young kid with some talent, and hopefully, it's just a little tweak. I don't know if he'll return this year or not. We'll just have to wait and see how it plays out."

Farmington had chances to tie or take the lead in the bottom of the seventh. The Scorps got runners on second and third with one out, then loaded the bases with two outs, but couldn't get a hit to extend the game.

Farmington's Keaton Christy connects on a pitch against Aztec on Tuesday at Ricketts Park.

Aztec senior Kyler Duggins earned the win, pitching six and two thirds innings. Sophomore Zach Taylor earned the one-out save for the Tigers.

Farmington will play at Miyamura on Thursday while the Tigers host Gallup.

Both teams will close out the regular season Saturday with the Scorps playing at Bloomfield and the Tigers hosting Miyamura.

"We need some help from Miyamura. We're all knotted up, us, Farmington and Miyamura, and we (Aztec and Farmington) both play Miyamura one more time," Laplatt said. "We have to control what we can and not worry about anything else going on."

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