BLOOMFIELD – The Bloomfield baseball team ran out of gas after an emotional week of games and split its doubleheader with Taos at John Gutierrez Field this afternoon.
The Bobcats picked up two tough wins over Shiprock on Thursday and carried the momentum over to the first game against Taos, beating the Tigers 3-1. But they couldn’t keep up the energy and focus in the second game and fell 5-3.
“We’ve had a lot of high-emotion games the last few days,” Bloomfield head coach Frank DeHoyos said. “We came back to win the first game today, then kind of ran out of juice there at the end. It’s tough. It’s a tough way to play, but we need to play those kind of games.”
Bloomfield’s defense came up with multiple key plays during the first game to pick up the win, but mistakes came back to hurt the Bobcats in the second game.
Taos (11-8) got its lone run of the first game on a two-out solo home run Adam Abeyta hit off of Bloomfield pitcher Chauncey White in the first inning.
After struggling to get production at the plate in the first two innings, the Bobcats (11-8) became more aggressive in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game. White got things going with a single to left field, and during the next at-bat, Luke Deifenbaugh and White executed a hit-and-run to perfection. Deifenbaugh hit a ground ball to Abeyta at shortstop and was thrown out at first, but the slow-rolling grounder gave White a chance to advance to third on the play. Trying to get White out, Taos rushed the throw from first to third, and the ball sailed into foul territory, allowing White to cross the plate standing up.
After a single and a walk to start the top of the fourth, Taos looked poised to do some damage. But White struck out Taos’ third batter of the inning, and Deifenbaugh threw out the runner trying to steal third for a double play. White struck out the next Tiger to end the inning.
“In the first game we played, our team played their tails off, and Chauncey threw his tail off,” DeHoyos said. “It was a good game, and we played sound defense. That’s something we’ve been priding ourselves on and working on really hard, and it showed.”
The Bobcats carried the momentum from defense to offense and took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the inning when Saul Noriega hit a towering two-run homer over the right-field wall.
Taos got the bases loaded with two outs in the top of the sixth, but again Bloomfield’s defense came through.
A pitch from White hopped off the turf and bounced off of Deifenbaugh to get away, but the junior catcher recovered and tossed the ball to White, who tagged out the Taos baserunner as he slid headfirst into home plate.
In the second game, a pair of costly mistakes with two outs allowed Taos to score a pair of runs in the top of the first inning.
On the first run, with runners on second and third, Taos hit a ground ball to Bloomfield’s third baseman, who threw to first for the force out. But the throw was off its mark, allowing a run to score.
During the next at-bat, with runners on the corners, the Taos runner broke for second. Rather than letting the Tigers take the steal, Deifenbaugh tried to throw the runner out, but the throw wasn’t in time, and and the runner on third galloped home for the second run.
The Bobcats got on the board with a two-out RBI single from Deifenbaugh in the bottom of the third.
Bloomfield added to its run total in the fourth. Brendon Charley hit an RBI triple to deep center to tie the game at 2, then Noriega came through with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Charley and give Bloomfield the lead.
Taos answered in the top of the fifth, getting an RBI triple from Abeyta, then an RBI single from Antonio Fresquez to make it 4-3. Another run scored on a wild pitch.
Offensively, the Bobcats look to be moving past their struggles in the batter’s box, which have been an issue throughout the season. DeHoyos said he's not as concerned about the Bobcats’ hitting approach as he was a couple weeks ago.
“We’re turning the page a little bit and starting to drive the baseball a little bit. Now, it’s just a matter of the baseball gods kind of messing with us and letting us hit hard balls right at people,” DeHoyos said. “We just have to keep chipping away.”
Bloomfield will host Thoreau (2-14) for a doubleheader on Tuesday.
5A games postponed
The Piedra Vista at Aztec and Gallup at Farmington baseball games scheduled for today were postponed because of poor field conditions after a rainstorm Friday night.
The games will be rescheduled for a later date.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.