FARMINGTON – The Kirtland Central baseball team split its doubleheader with Taos, beating the Tigers 6-5 in nine innings during the first game before falling 6-4 in the second game Tuesday night at KCHS.
The second game was called after five innings because of darkness.
In the first game, the two sides ended the seventh inning tied at 3. The Tigers (6-4) scored two in the top of the ninth to take a 5-3 lead.
After tying the game at 5, KC’s Bryson Dowdy hit a hard ball at the Taos shortstop, who couldn’t handle it, allowing pinch runner Keishaun Aspaas to advance from second to score the winning run.
“What a whirlwind of a game that was,” KC head coach Bryan Wardroup said. “We got down early and battled back, and we played great defense the whole game.”
In the game, KC (5-6) turned three unconventional double plays at key moments to swing the momentum, with the first coming when the Broncos caught two Taos base runners in rundowns between second and third and first and second for the outs.
In the second game, the Broncos ran out of daylight.
After falling behind early, KC started to get things going as the sky faded to darkness.
“We ran out of time after the first game went nine innings and us not having lights (at the field),” Wardroup said. “We had the bases loaded with two outs, and I don’t want to make excuses, but I’m not sure the kids could even see the ball during the last at-bat, and we ended up striking out.”
Kirtland Central will host Grants (4-6) for a doubleheader at 3 p.m. Friday.
Aztec 11, Bloomfield 1
Aztec did little wrong and rolled to an 11-1 win over Bloomfield Tuesday in Aztec.
The Tigers found production up and down the lineup while pitcher Bradley Maestas gave up one hit over five innings of work.
“(Maestas) really threw well. He threw a ton of strikes,” Aztec head coach Wes Laplatt said. “He didn’t really have command of his off-speed (pitches), but he was extremely hard nosed and pitched first-pitch strikes. And we played really good defense behind him.”
Offensively, Laplatt said the Tigers (8-4) did a good job of sitting back and driving the ball into right field for the bulk of their hits.
Aztec’s ability to connect on pitches also drew the praise of Bloomfield head coach Frank DeHoyos.
“Those guys flat hit the baseball. They hit it, they hit it well and they’re having a lot of fun playing the game,” DeHoyos said.
Bloomfield (5-5) started the game on a high note, scoring in the first inning, but similar to what has been the Bobcats’ problem all season, mental mistakes came back to hurt them.
“We had one error in the second that hurt us,” DeHoyos said. “We were up 1-0, and there was a bunt that could have gone either way (fair or foul), and we picked it up to try to make a play and threw it into right field. We just kind of fell apart after that.”
Aztec will host defending 5A state champion Albuquerque Academy (5-3) on Friday.
Bloomfield will host Miyamura (7-3) on Monday.
Kirtland Central 21, Farmington 3
The Kirtland Central softball team picked up a dominating win over Farmington, routing the Lady Scorps 21-3 Tuesday afternoon at KCHS.
“We put the ball in play,” KC head coach Cody Gilmore said. “We talked about tracking the ball out of the pitcher's hand, and we did a really good job of that today and squared up the ball.”
Gilmore said the cold and windy weather at the field played a factor in the game, but he said the Lady Broncos did a good job of adjusting to the conditions and reading the ball in the air.
Shiloh Lewis pitched for the Lady Broncos and kept Farmington in check for most of the game, only allowing the Lady Scorps to get their offense going during one inning with Gilmore crediting Farmington’s bats for connecting on good pitches.
Everybody for the Lady Broncos put the ball in play, Gilmore said.
Farmington open play in District 1-5A on Friday, traveling to Gallup to face the Lady Bengals (5-7).
KC will play Navajo Prep on Tuesday.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.