FARMINGTON — The Piedra Vista baseball team scraped by with a 2-1 win over Atrisco Heritage Academy in the opener of a best-of-three series in the first round of the 6A state tournament today at Ricketts Park.
No one was bigger in the win for the Panthers than junior Chase Silseth, who pitched a complete game and provided the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the sixth inning.
PV piled up nine hits in the game, including leadoff hits in each of the first four innings, but couldn't find a way to produce many runs.
"It was a great effort on (Atrisco's) part to scatter hits and shut us down when they needed to, but I feel like we dominated that game," PV coach Mike McGaha said. "We didn't do the things we needed to do to separate."
Silseth gave up three hits, one walk and one hit batter in the win.
The Panthers got rolling in the first inning, recording four hits and scoring one run to take an early lead. Andrew Caliendo provided the RBI in the inning, dropping a single into shallow center field to score Elijah Gamboa.
Atrisco pulled even in the top of the fourth.
With a runner on second and one out, Silseth made a move to pick off the runner at second, but his throw got away and ended up in center field and allowed the runner to advance to third. Then another pick-off attempt to try to catch the runner away from third was off target, allowing the runner to score.
The Panthers retook the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
After Nate Swarts drew a walk, Silseth ripped a pitch over the center fielder's head for a two-out RBI triple to make it 2-1.
"I looked for a pitch I could drive, and the first pitch was chest high. I just swung on it, and it went," Silseth said.
In the top of the seventh, Atrisco's Ethan Harden ripped a double down the first-base line, putting runners on second and third with one out in the inning. But Silseth got the next batter to pop up to first baseman Devin Ferrari, then struck out the final batter to secure the win.
PV and Atrisco will play in the second game of the series at 11 a.m. Saturday at Ricketts Park. The third game will follow immediately if needed.
Silseth said he believes the 2-1 win could be enough to shake any of the nerves off the Panthers and be a spark to ignite them for a run deeper into the tournament.
"I think this game could spark us. This was one of our better-hitting games, we just couldn't find the momentum to keep it going. I've been telling people we haven't hit our full potential yet, but it will come. We'll find it this weekend, and we'll find it again next week, for sure."
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.