Kyler Duggins earns complete-game victory for Aztec
AZTEC – The Aztec baseball team had everything working for it in a district rivalry game that didn't even make it through five innings on Thursday.
Big first and fifth frames helped the Tigers thump visiting Farmington 11-1 here. A five-run Tiger rally in the bottom of the fifth triggered the 10-rule run and ended the contest early.
"From one through nine, plus base running, plus pitching, everyone did their job tonight," Aztec coach Wes LePlatt said. "They came into this one with a good mindset. It's really encouraging to see everyone buying into the team concept."
Starting pitcher Dominic Martinez didn't have his best stuff for Farmington (7-13, 1-1 District 1-5A) and wound up being pulled from the game with two down in the first inning. The senior hit the first two batters he faced, walked a pair and gave up two singles in what amounted to a 4-0 start for the Tigers.
"If we executed balls in the strike zone, we would have had a chance," Farmington coach Sean Trotter said. "(Dominic) is just a guy who's not going to overpower you. He just has to put the ball on both sides of the plate, and he couldn't hit his spot."
Kyler Duggins took the bump for Aztec (13-5, 4-0), and the junior had quite an afternoon, allowing just four hits, one walk and one run in a complete-game win. Duggins didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning.
Farmington's only run of the day came when Ethan Secrest drove in Bryce Washburn with a sacrifice fly. Aztec played an error-free game behind Duggins, who was hard to hit, according to Trotter.
"He kept the ball away, kept the ball away, kept the ball away and we didn't make an adjustment," Trotter said. "We hit a couple balls on the button, but for the most part, we didn't make an adjustment."
The Tigers scored a run in the third and another in the fourth before putting the final nail in the coffin in the fifth. Derek Baca and Spencer Heyden each drove in runs with singles, and Steele Justis ended the game with an RBI hit that likely would have scored more than one run had the mercy rule not come into play.
Heyden, Aztec's catcher and No. 9 hitter, got on base in each of his three at-bats and went 2-2 with a pair of RBI. His day brought a smile to LePlatt's face, who said Heyden's offensive ability tends to get overlooked.
"He's a tough out, and people don't realize that 'cause he's down in the nine hole," LePlatt said. "He did a great job behind the plate, also. The hits were extra."
Beau Crawford also drove in two runs for the Tigers, and leadoff hitter Jake Taylor stole a base and scored three times.
Aztec should be in for a good one on Saturday when Piedra Vista (14-7, 2-0) visits for an 11 a.m. game. Farmington plays at the same time on Saturday and will try to avoid back-to-back losses when it takes on Gallup (5-15, 0-1) at home.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.