Sundevils Split With Los Alamos, Will Wait On Future

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Española's Ashley Osegueda scores a run against Los Alamos. Osegueda had a home run and a triple in the Sundevils 7-6 win in the first game of a doubleheader April 27 against the Hilltoppers (photo by John McHale).

Sundevils Split With Los Alamos, Will Wait On Future

By George Morse

The Española Valley High School softball team knows exactly what it needs to do. The Lady Sundevils need to sweep a doubleheader from the Taos High School Lady Tigers Saturday.

Then the Sundevils will have to wait and see if they will be among the 16 teams that will be selected to participate in the Class 4A state softball tournament Sunday.

“We have two games left,” Española Coach Robbie Garcia said. “We need to take care of Taos, then it’s up to the seeding committee.”

The Sundevils sit in third place in District 2-4A with a 6-4 record. Los Alamos High School is in second place with a 7-3 record. Pojoaque Valley High School leads the district with an 8-2 record.

Pojoaque faces Los Alamos Saturday in a double header at Pojoaque that will determine who the District 2-4A champion will be. The possibility does exist of a tie for second place between Española and Los Alamos should the Elkettes and Hilltoppers split their doubleheader. Española could actually end up alone in second place should Pojoaque sweep Los Alamos and Española sweeps Taos. Los Alamos takes first place if they sweep Pojoaque. Española would stay in third place if tied with either Pojoaque or Los Alamos because both the Hilltoppers and Elkettes hold the tiebreaker over the Sundevils.

Only the District 2-4A champion is guaranteed a spot in the state softball tournament.

All these possibilities exist thanks to Española splitting its doubleheader April 27 against Los Alamos at Española. The Sundevils won the first game 7-6 in a nailbiter. The Hilltoppers came back to win the second game 10-5 to earn the split.

“That first game was a great game,” Española Coach Robbie Garcia said. “We needed to win it and we did. The second game, we fell short.”

In the first game, the Sundevils played good defense and Española pitcher Autumn Vigil held Los Alamos in check with a gutsy performance on the mound.

In the first game, Española had to rally after falling behind 4-0 after Los Alamos wcored three runs in the top of the second inning. The Hilltoppers added another run in the top of the third inning.

Española finally woke up in the bottom of the third innings thanks to the big bat of eighth-grader Ashley Osegueda. Haley Garcia stroked a two-out single for Española. Osegueda then smacked a triple to bring Ortega home. The Sundevils trailed 4-1 after three innings.

The Sundevils tied the game with three runs in the fourth inning. Jazmine Roller singled, Jaide Romero reached on an error and Mariah Duran stroked a single for one run. A double by Marissa Abeyta scored two runs.

Española took a 5-4 lead in the fifth inning when Osegueda led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a home run.

Los Alamos came back to take the lead 6-5 in the top of the sixth inning on a two-run homer by Claire Bluhm.

Española rallied back to take over the lead. Once again, Osegueda came through, stroking a two-out single to score two runs, giving the Sundevils a 7-6 lead heading into the seventh and final inning.

In the top of the seventh inning, the leadoff hitter for Los Alamos flied out to left field. Savana Luster singled, but was thrown out at second base while attempting to steal. Maya McMillan then flied out to left field to end the game. Española claimed a 7-6 victory.

The emotional win may have drained the Sundevils, who never really got started in the second game against Los Alamos freshman pitcher Isabella Robertson. Los Alamos took an 8-0 lead before Española finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning. Los Alamos added two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to take a 10-1 lead.

Española pitcher Hailey Guinn, who came in to relieve Vigil in the middle of the fourth inning, did a good job of holding Los Alamos scoreless in the sixth and seventh innings to give the Sundevils a chance. Española managed two runs in the sixth inning on singles by Ortega and Osegueda, then an error on Los Alamos. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Española got two more runs on a double by Osegueda. With runners at first and third with two outs, Taylor Suazo’s soft line  drive between first and second was snagged by McMillan on a nice catch to end the game.

“They (Los Alamos) did what they needed to do,” Coach Garcia said. “(Los Alamos) never really had a big inning. I kept waiting for ours, but we didn’t have it.”

It was the final home game for Española seniors Ortega, Roller and Suazo. In an emotional ceremony where some tears were shed, they were honored by their teammates and by Coach Garcia for their contributions to the Española softball program.

“They’re unique individuals,” Coach Garcia said. “They have great personalities and character. They’ll be good at whatever they do.”

Española’s Sydnee Pollard takes a throw at second base while Los Alamos’  Sophia Salazar attempts to steal (photo by John McHale).

l​Española seniors Taylor Suazo (left), Jazmine Roller and Haley Ortega are smiling but sad in the dugout after their final home game for the Sundevils.

Española senior Jazmine Roller wipes a tear from her eye after the Sundevils 10-5 loss to Los Alamos in the second game of a doubleheader April 27 at Española.

Española senior Taylor Suazo receives gifts from Coach Robbie Garcia and her team in a ceremony honoring Española's seniors after a doubleheader April 27 against Los Alamos.

Española senior Haley Ortega and Coach Robbie Garcia shared a moment at a ceremony after the doubleheader April 27 against Los Alamos.