By Tony A. Archuleta
The Hot Springs varsity baseball team positioned itself nicely to pick up a key District 3-3A win Tuesday, April 3, against visiting Silver.
In the final at-bat, the Tigers had runners on first and third bases, and needed a run to tie it, and two runs to win it.
The third out, however, came on a grounder to shortstop, which resulted in a short throw to second base for the third and final out, as the Colts escaped Tiger Field with a 4-3 victory.
After freshman second baseman Sajid Porras hit a single to shallow left in the bottom of the seventh and final inning, junior pitcher Justin Ford drove another grounder down the middle, clipping Silver’s starting pitcher’s leg and forcing him to the dugout with a minor leg injury.
With two runners on base and no outs, the Tigers’ prospects were looking promising, but Silver’s relief hurler, Joseph Murillo, forced a high pop-up, which the Colt catcher easily handled for the first out, followed by a Tiger hit to deep right field that was also caught for the second out.
Porras put extra pressure on the Silver pitcher by stealing third, but the game ended with Porras and Ford stranded on base.
The Tigers scored first in the bottom of the second inning when senior third baseman Manny Marin recorded an RBI by driving in senior shortstop “Nuny” Loera, who had gotten on base with a double and a steal to third.
The Tigers, however, left a couple of runners on base as the inning closed.
Silver, however, responded in the third, taking a 3-1 lead, but also stranding two runners.
Hot Springs came within a run (3-2) off an RBI by Loera that brought Ford home. Yet again, the Tigers left two on base, but Silver returned the favor in the top of the fourth, leaving two potential runs on base.
In the bottom of the sixth, Marin tied it at 3-all with a single RBI that scored Loera.
Going into the final inning tied at 3-all, Ford struck out the first Silver batter and forced a grounder that was easily handled with a throw-out to first base for the second out.
A fielding error, however, on the next at-bat left a silver runner on second base, and a single RBI later left the Colts with the one-run lead that would be enough to preserve the win.
Ford struck out the next Silver batter to close out the inning and give the Tigers a good opportunity to pull off the win in the final at-bat.