Local Rivals Square Off, Espanola Shuts Out Pojoaque

Espanola pitcher Meranda Romero shut out Pojoaque 7-0 April 3 at Espanola

Espanola pitcher Meranda Romero shut out Pojoaque 7-0 April 3 at Espanola. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Local Rivals Square Off, Espanola Shuts Out Pojoaque

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

Espanola Valley High School sophomore pitcher Meranda Romero tossed a shutout against the Pojoaque Valley Elkettes when the two local rivals squared off April 3 at Espanola. Timely hitting by the Lady Sundevils, highlighted by Raylynn Quintana’s home run in the fourth inning, staked Romero with a 7-0 lead and she made it stand up for the Lady Sundevils.

“Give respect to their pitcher (Romero),” Pojoaque Coach Ricky DeHerrera said. “She shut us down.”

With Romero being Espanola’s only healthy varsity pitcher, she had to carry the load. Her strong showing against the Elkettes came after she’d had some much-needed time off.

“She was able to get two days rest,” Espanola Coach Robbie Garcia said.

After a scoreless first inning, Espanola put a run across the plate in the second inning on a walk to Elena Gonzales, a single by Romero and a double by Marina Padilla. The Lady Sundevils put five runs across the plate in the third inning. Kaitlynn Madrid drew a leadoff walk. Quintana followed with a single. With one out, Haley Ortega doubled, Gonzales reached base and Romero stroked a single. Padilla cleared the bases with her second double to give the Sundevils a 6-0 lead.

Pojoaque’s Kristi Miera tags out Espanola’s Kaitlynn Madrid at third base. Photo by George Morse with the Valley Daily Post

Quintana’s big home run came with one out in the fourth inning off Pojoaque pitcher Jodi Garcia. Both players are well-known to each other.

Me and Jodi have been best friends for like five-or-six years,” Quintana said. “It was a present from her and I thanked her for it.”

That made the score 7-0 and that was the end to the scoring in the game.

“We hit, played defense and got good pitching,” Coach Garcia said. “It’s the combination we’ve been looking for all season. This is a good confidence builder.”

For Quintana, who along with Padilla is one of two seniors on the team, it was good preparation for her team’s goal of winning the District 2-5A title.

“All the good things happened at the same time,” she said. “We did what we needed to do. All of us worked together to get the win. We’re all back and ready to take district.”

Espanola will play three games in District 2-5A this week. The Lady Sundevils travel to Santa Fe Wednesday to play Capital High School. The Lady Jaguars are off to a surprising 2-0 start in district play after a doubleheader sweep of Del Norte High School April 1 in Albuquerque. Saturday, the Sundevils host Los Alamos High School in a doubleheader. The Lady Hilltoppers are 3-0 in District 2-5A after sweeping a doubleheader from Albuquerque Academy April 1 in Los Alamos.

Espanola is 1-0 in District 2-5A and 6-9 overall.

The Elkettes are 4-7 on the season. Pojoaque is also preparing for their district play in District 2-4A. The Elkettes will be on the road for a five-game stretch. Pojoaque travels to Taos High School Wednesday for their District 2-4A opener, then has a non-district doubleheader Thursday at Sandia Prep School in Albuquerque. Saturday, the Elkettes take on West Las Vegas High School in Las Vegas for a big doubleheader in District 2-4A competition.

“It’s not going to be no walk in the park,” Coach DeHerrera said. “My team is coming around. We have good practices and the attitude is always positive.”

Espanola’s Meranda Romero was the winning pitcher in the Lady Sundevils 16-6 win over Albuquerque Academy March 29 at Espanola. Photo by George Morsewith the Valley Daily Post