Panthers stay perfect in district, beat Aztec

Karl Schneider
Piedra Vista's Kyle Dewees hit a triple against Aztec on Wednesday in Aztec.

AZTEC – When the Piedra Vista baseball team got things going at the plate, Aztec couldn’t slow the Panthers down.

PV scored seven runs in the fourth inning to blow the game open and tacked on six runs in the sixth en route to a 14-1 win over Aztec Wednesday afternoon.

The Tigers (15-6, 3-1 District 1-5A) held PV (16-7, 4-0) to just one hit in the first three innings to keep the Panthers’ explosive lineup in check. PV head coach Mike McGaha said he thought the Panthers's cause was hampered in the first three innings by not getting the leadoff runner on base, which played a part in the team’s struggles to score any runs during that span.

“If you can get the leadoff runner on, you have something you can work with, and we did that in the fourth inning with Andrew (Caliendo) led off the inning with a walk,” McGaha said. “Then Logan (Klunder) gets a walk, then (Elijah) Gamboa hits an RBI in the gap, and here we go.”

In the at-bat following Gamboa, Tyler Mead ripped a double down the left-field line to drive in two more runs.

After Mead stole third base, Deylan Pigford hit a sacrifice fly to bring Mead home and make it 4-0.

But the Panthers weren’t done, getting a two-out RBI triple from Kyle Dewees, then an RBI double from Brandon Gardenhire.

In his second trip to the plate of the inning, Caliendo singled to drive in the seventh run of the inning.

“They were on time and hit the ball hard. They’re just a good-hitting club,” Aztec head coach Wes Laplatt said of the Panthers’ fourth inning.

Gamboa kept things going in the top of the fifth, leading off the inning with a solo home run to dead center. But PV couldn’t get anything else in the inning and went into the bottom half of the inning with an 8-0 lead.

Aztec's Zach Taylor turns a double play against Piedra Vista on Wednesday in Aztec.

Aztec got on the board in the bottom of the fifth after Zach Taylor drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk to force in a run and make it 8-1.

PV extended its lead in the sixth, using back-to-back hit batters and a walk to help add six runs in the inning.

Defensively, PV turned double plays in each of the first three innings to help keep the Tigers quiet.

“We hit into three double plays that were rally killers when we had traffic on the bases,” Laplatt said. “We just couldn’t get our timing at the plate.”

Fabian Magallanes picked up the win for the Panthers, improving to 7-1 on the season. The senior held the Tigers to four hits over his six innings of work.

Piedra Vista's Fabian Magallanes pitches against Aztec on Wednesday in Aztec.

Both the Panthers and the Tigers will be back in action today. PV will host Gallup (5-17, 0-3) at 4 p.m. Aztec will host Miyamura (10-8, 1-3) at 4 p.m.

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