By Daniel Terrazas
Spring break for the Hot Springs varsity baseball team wasn’t all R&R, as they reached another milestone under third-year head coach Anthony Flores.
The Tiger hurlers played in the three-day Thoreau Invitational in Gallup over the spring break holiday, coming away with the championship trophy, a feat not accomplished in several years.
The Tigers scored a total of 30 runs on the weekend while only giving up two.
On Thursday, March 22, the Tigers met their first opponents out of Albuquerque, playing the Native American Community Academy Eagles.
After a slow 2-0 lead after three innings, the Tigers came alive in the final two innings, racking up another eight runs to seal the deal on the NACA Eagles and winning the game 10-0 by the 10-run rule in the fifth inning. After one inning from “Ace” Justin Ford, Luis Lara was subbed in for the remainder of the game.
Lara was the winning pitcher for the Tigers, striking out several batters and relying on a tough Tiger D to blank the Eagle batters.
That win put the Tigers on the winner’s side of the bracket and a meeting with Gallup area school Ft. Wingate.
By way of innings pitched, Lara again was on the mound for the Tigers until Manuel “Nuny” Loera came in to relieve Lara in the fifth inning. The Tiger bats and tenacious defense once again prevailed, and the Tigers had no problem, with the Bears winning the game by the score of 16-1, once again in the fifth inning.
After a long layoff between games, the untested Tigers met what was one of the better teams and outings of the young season. The championship game pitted the Tigers against Laguna-Acoma and proved to be a true championship-style battle of defenses throughout the contest.
The Tigers showed that they were hungry for the win, as they jumped to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning. This would be the difference the Tigers would need, as most of the rest of the game was a combination of great pitching and strong defense by both ball clubs.
Both teams would muster only one run each in the remainder of the game. Once again, Ford fanned several Hawk batters and closed the final inning out with a picture perfect curve ball for a called strike-out, which put the Tigers in the winners circle with a 4-1 win.
Championship trophy in hand, the Tigers were able to “enjoy” the five-plus-hour bus ride back to Truth or Consequences. The Tigers are now 6-4, and have a little momentum heading into the heart of this year’s schedule.
Hot Springs hosted 4A Chaparral in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 31, at Tiger Field.
In the first game, the Lobos took a 3-0 lead in the first inning, but the Tigers came back to take a 4-3 advantage. However, it was Chaparral the rest of the way, as the Lobos opened up an 8-4 lead in the fourth and cruised to a 14-5 victory.
In the rubber match, Chaparral prevailed 6-4.
Hot Springs (7-8) was scheduled to host Silver in a District 3-3A showdown on Tuesday, April 3, at Tiger Field.