Pojoaque Earns Split With Sundevils, Stays In First Place
By George Morse
The difference was like night and day in the two games of a key doubleheader between Pojoaque Valley High School and Española Valley High School April 20 at Española. The Pojoaque Elkettes just needed a split to stay in first place in District 2-4A, while a sweep by Española would put the Sundevils atop the standings.
It looked like Española might be able to take care of business after beating Pojoaque 13-3 in six innings under the 10-run mercy rule in the first game. It was not to be, as the Elkettes came back and mercy-ruled the Sundevils in a five-inning, 16-4 victory in the second game.
So the Elkettes hold on to first place in District 2-4A with a 6-2 record, while Española slips back to third place with a 4-3 record. Los Alamos High School is in second place behind Pojoaque with a 5-2 record.
In the first game, the Elkettes got off to a good start in the top of the first inning. Elysia Gonzales doubled with one out. Ayana Aguirre, batting left-handed, smacked a igh fly ball to the opposite field that cleared the left field fence for a two-run homer to give the Elkettes a 2-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long. In the bottom of the first inning, Marissa Abeyta singled. Haley Ortega launched a two-run homer to straightaway center field to tie the score 2-2 after one inning.
Española took the lead 3-2 in the second inning on a double by Jazmine Roller, who stole third base and scored on a passed ball.
Pojoaque tied the score 3-3 in the top of the third inning. Gonzales led off with a triple and later scored on a grounder to second. Española took a 4-3 lead in the fourth inning on a double by Autumn Vigil and a single by Trinity Ortega.
Española broke open the game in the fifth inning. Ortega led off with a double and Ashley Osegueda reached on an error. Taylor Suazo singled and took second base on the throw home. Roller struck out but reached first when the ball got away from Pojoaque’s catcher. Vigil singled to drive in a run. The bases were loaded for the next batter, Jaide Romero.
With two strikes on her, Romero kept staying alive by fouling pitches off. She finally got a fat pitch and drove the ball to the fence in left-center field, clearing the bases. Romero later scored on a hit by Trinity Ortega. Trinity Ortega scored on Haley Ortega’s single. The Sundevils pushed seven runs across the plate to take an 11-3 lead.
After Pojoaque didn’t score in the top of the sixth inning, Española needed two runs to end the game. They got them when Romero came up with another big hit, driving in Roller and Vigil to end the game.
“Too many errors,” Pojoaque Coach Chris Ortiz said. “Our defense struggled a bit. Our energy level was not where it should have been.”
Pojoaque’s energy level took a big leap forward in the top of the first inning in the second game. After Vigil walked the first two batters leading off the inning, she threw a fat pitch to Pojoaque catcher Jessica Roybal, who slammed it over the fence for a three-run homer. That ignited the Elkettes. Aguirre, Michaela Martinez and Madison Gonzales all singled. After two fly balls for the first two outs, Ariana Salazar and Anissa Herrera had back-to-back doubles. The Elkettes put seven runs across the plate.
Española came up with three runs in the bottom of the first inning. Pojoaque pitcher Michaela Martinez kept the Española hitters off balance with her off-speed pitches after that and the Sundevils could only score one more run after the first inning.
“Mick (Martinez) did a heck of a job,” Coach Ortiz said. “She has a nice changeup.”
Pojoaque added three runs in the third inning and once again it was Roybal doing the damage. She smacked her second three-run homer of the game over the center field fence to make the score 10-3 in favor of the Elkettes.
Pojoaque added five more runs in the top of the fourth inning. Singles by Madison Gonzales and Hallie Vigil got things started, followed by a double by Kaelynn Mondragon. A single by Herrera,an error and a double by Aguirre did the damage. Pojoaque added another run in the top of the fifth inning to take a 16-4 lead.
Española, who needed three runs to stay alive, came up empty in the bottom of the fifth inning and the Elkettes had taken revenge with a 16-4 win under the 10-run mercy rule that goes into effect in the fifth inning.
“We put that first game to rest,” Coach Ortiz said. “We stuck the ball in that second game.”
Pojoaque faces Taos Tuesday at Pojoaque. The Tigers pulled off a surprising sweep of a doubleheader against Los Alamos April 13 but are just 2-4 in District 2-4A. The Elkettes finish their regular season May 4 with a key doubleheader against Los Alamos that will likely determine the District 2-4A championship.
Española has a key doubleheader against Los Alamos Saturday.
“We have to take care of business and beat Los Alamos twice,” Española Coach Robbie Garcia said. “Then, we play a waiting game to see who wins and who loses.”
Pojoaque pitcher Michaela Martinez kept Espanola hitters in check with a nice changeup and was the winning pitcher in the Elkettes 16-4 victory.