Bobcats' rally falls short in season-ending loss

Luke Deifenbaugh rips a pair of doubles for Bloomfield in 4-2 loss

Jake Newby
Bloomfield's Luke Deifenbaugh hits a double to left field in a 4A state playoff game against Portales on Thursday at Rio Rancho High School.

RIO RANCHO — Rough fifth and six innings did in the Bloomfield baseball team today during the quarterfinals of the 4A state baseball tournament.

The No. 7 Bobcats played mistake-free baseball until the bottom of the fifth inning, when No. 2 Portales took advantage of a fielding error and a bad two-strike pitch to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish. Bloomfield made it interesting by loading the bases in the seventh, but ultimately fell 4-2 to the Rams at Rio Rancho High School.

Catcher Luke Deifenbaugh opened the game's scoring in Bloomfield's favor when he scorched an RBI-double over the center fielder's head in the top of the fourth to make it 1-0. The Bobcats held on to that advantage for a little more than an inning.

Bloomfield ace Chauncey White took the mound, and while he didn't have his best control, he was solid in giving up only three base runners through four innings while keeping the Rams (22-6) off the scoreboard until the fifth.

An infield error by Bloomfield put a Portales runner on base to open that fifth inning, and two batters later, Joel Legarda smacked a two-run, no-doubt homer to deep left field to give his team the 2-1 lead.

Bloomfield coach Frank DeHoyos said he thought the bottom half of the fifth was the beginning of White's downfall.

"He missed an 0-2 spot, and the guy hit it out of the yard," DeHoyos said. "He didn't bounce back from it. But you know, that's baseball, and we talk about fighting back as a team, and we did. We've done a heck of a job of doing that all year."

Bloomfield's Chauncey White throws a pitch against Portales on Thursday at Rio Rancho High School.

The Rams went into the seventh inning with a 4-1 lead, but had a hard time closing out DeHoyos' resilient bunch.

Following Deifenbaugh's second double of the day, pinch hitter Mike DeHerrera drove him home with a two-out single to make it a 4-2 game. Rogelio Gonzales and Brendon Charley then reached base in consecutive at-bats to make for a dramatic bases-loaded situation for Bloomfield No. 3 hitter Orlando Frias. But Portales relief pitcher Emilio Lovato sucked all the drama out of the at-bat by throwing three straight strikes past Frias to end the game. Frias took all three strikes looking.

"(Portales) took their (starting pitcher) out because he was getting a little shaky, and Orlando, that was the first time he's ever really been in a situation like that," DeHoyos said. "I guarantee you he'd like to have that at-bat back."

After starting out the season slowly, Bloomfield finished strong by bringing home a fourth consecutive District 1-4A championship trophy. The Bobcats' season — one that DeHoyos said he'll look back on fondly — ended with an 18-11 overall record.

"Those guys right there, that's a pretty stinking special group," he said. "You go back, and we were No. 17 in the state, and people were writing us off. We said, 'Let's go out there and start our own little April Fool's joke,' and we pushed through it. That group right there, we tell them to 'Bobcat Up,' and they damn sure did."

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.