Aztec stunned in first round with pair of losses

Tigers see their season come an end with defeats

Karl Schneider

AZTEC — The Aztec baseball team's season came to a screeching halt today as it dropped two games to 12th-seeded Santa Teresa and lost the best-of-three series in the first round of the 5A playoffs.

Aztec's Derek Jung connects on a pitch against Santa Teresa during the 5A playoffs on Saturday in Aztec.

The Desert Warriors blasted the Tigers 13-5 in the first game of the day to force a decisive third game, then used a six-run first inning to pull away from Aztec for an 8-4 victory.

In the day's first game, Aztec's Sebastian McNeal ripped a bases-loaded double in the bottom of the third inning, driving in three runs to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead.

But the lead didn't last long.

In the top of the fourth, Santa Teresa worked the bases loaded with no outs and scored five runs in the inning to take control 8-4.

Aztec tried to chip away at the deficit, getting an RBI single from Brandon Sipe in the bottom of the fourth. But the Desert Warriors continued to pile up runs in the sixth and seventh innings to secure the victory.

Aztec's Cody Smith pitches against Santa Teresa during the 5A playoffs on Saturday in Aztec.

After a brief break in the action to prepare the field for the rubber match, Santa Teresa sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning, scoring six runs in the inning. Five of the six runs came with two outs.

Following the initial blow, Aztec looked primed to cut into Santa Teresa's lead. The Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the first. They added another run in the second, but any momentum was killed when Aztec left the bases loaded to end the second inning.

Aztec couldn't seem to get out of its own way the rest of the game.

In the fourth, the Desert Warriors added two runs. One came on a wild pitch, the other after two throwing errors allowed a runner to score from first base.

With the two wins today, Santa Teresa became the only lower seeded team in 5A to advance out of the first round.

Aztec coach Wes Laplatt could not be reached for comment.

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