AZTEC –The Aztec baseball team continued its hot start to the season with a pair of wins Saturday to capture the title at its home tournament.
The Tigers opened the day with an 11-2 win over Kirtland Central, then wrapped up the tourney with a 9-2 win over Santa Fe to finish the event with a 3-0 record.
Against KC, the Tigers scored rolled early and often, getting production from everyone in the lineup while taking advantage of KC’s mistakes in the field.
“I thought we were a lot more disciplined at the plate. There were a lot of late counts, and we saw a lot of pitches,” Aztec head coach Wes Laplatt said.
In the top of the first, Aztec scored on an error, then got an RBI single from Beau Crawford to make it 2-0. Both runs came with two outs.
KC answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring on a wild pitch. But in the top of the second, Derek Baca hit a sacrifice fly to get the Tiger lead back to two runs at 3-1.
The Broncos got back within one run in the bottom of the third, scoring on an error. But after that, KC didn’t get much going at the plate against Aztec’s Cody Smith.
“He got better the further he went,” Laplatt said of Smith. “He only gave up three hits and a couple of walks, and I thought he gained strength and experience as he went through the game.”
In the fourth, Baca and Jake Taylor drove in runs to make it 5-2.
Aggressive baserunning from the Tigers, and a couple of pitches in the dirt by KC led to three more Aztec runs in the fifth to blow the game open at 8-2.
Bradley Maestas notched an RBI in the sixth, then Dustin Sipe drove in two more to make it 11-2.
In the Santa Fe game, the Tigers strung together five singles and a double to score five runs in the top of the fourth to open a 7-2 advantage.
Kyler Duggins threw a complete game, allowing no walks, while the Aztec defense made plays behind him.
Aztec will play Socorro on Wednesday.
Kirtland Central 11, Montezuma-Cortez, Colo., 3
Kirtland Central bounced back from an 11-2 loss to Aztec and finished the Aztec Tournament on a high note, crushing Colorado’s Montezuma-Cortez 11-3 Saturday afternoon in Aztec.
“We came out a little flat again and gave up three runs in the first inning after making a couple of errors, but I can’t say enough about our defense,” KC head coach Brian Wardroup said. “Cochise Sorrelhorse threw the whole game and gave up five hits and one earned run with seven strikeouts.”
During the game, KC allowed multiple runners on base in multiple innings, but the Broncos always managed to get out of the jams without giving up any runs.
“Then the sticks showed up. We had production up and down the lineup. Just a real nice ability to bounce back after two real tough losses,” Wardroup said, referencing the Aztec loss and KC’s 12-4 loss to Santa Fe Friday night.
KC will be off until March 29, when the Broncos host Taos for a doubleheader.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.