Tigers Eliminated in First Round of State Playoffs
By Tony A. Archuleta
The Hot Springs varsity baseball team’s long playoff trip to Portales last weekend took a heavy toll in the errors department.
The No. 3 seeded Rams beat the Tigers 10-0 on Friday, May 4, and closed out the best of three series on Saturday with a 6-3 victory.
“They didn’t overwhelm us,” HSHS head coach Anthony Flores said Monday. “That trip got to us, and we didn’t show up to play. I don’t know what the deal was. But no excuses, they beat us.”
Flores said the 5-1/2-hour trip was a tougher foe than the Rams.
“They’re definitely not a number three seed,” Flores said of Portales, adding the Rams are on par talent-wise with Hatch Valley, whom the Tigers swept during the regular season.
Portales, nevertheless, advances while the Tigers – who finished 11-17 overall and 5-7 District 3-3A – take time to celebrate a second straight state tournament appearance before looking ahead to 2013.
“I’m excited because we’re a young group with a bunch of good sophomores and a couple of freshmen with two or three seniors,” Flores said. “It’s been a good experience for them. Our goal always is to get better every year. We’ve accomplished that, and we just got to keep it going.”
In the first game Friday, the Rams “got a couple of runs the first innings,” Flores said. “And then it was just error after error with us.”
Starting senior pitcher Justin Ford got off to a slow start, but began to find his stride in the third inning. Looking ahead to Saturday and a possible two games, Flores brought in relief pitcher Luis Lara.
In the second game Saturday, the Tigers were leading 3-2 before Portales got on base with bunts and the Tigers ended up yielding four unearned runs on throwing errors.
No. 4 Cobre, whom Flores picks to win the 3A title, beat No. 13 Taos 16-6 and 12-2. No. 9 Silver defeated No. 8 Ruidoso 14-2 and 3-2.
No. 16 Socorro was eliminated by No. 1 St. Michael’s, 11-1 and 10-0.