Sundevils Get First Victory, Defeat Pojoaque 8-4

by Staff Reporter / Mar 28, 2018 / 0 comments
Espanola’s Johnathan Sanchez gets ready to tag Pojoaque’s Dominic Tafoya at third base in Pojoaque’s 6-5 win over the Sundevils in the first game of a doubleheader March 24 at Espanola. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

Sundevils Get First Victory, Defeat Pojoaque 8-4

By George Morse Sports and Outdoors

After coming close in the first game of a doubleheader against Pojoaque Valley High School in a 6-5 loss, the Española Valley High School baseball team finally picked up their first victory of the season, defeating the Elks 8-4 in the second game of a twin bill March 24 at Española.  

The Sundevils had staged a late rally in the opening game of the doubleheader after Pojoaque had taken a 6-0 lead. In the first inning, Gabriel Huerta led off with a single, Jeret Montoya drew a walk and a single by JP Lyons brought home two runs. A groundout brought home another run and Pojoaque led 3-0 after an inning.

The Elks added three more runs in the top of the third inning on a pair of walks and base hits by Aguilar and Andres Soveranez to lead 6-0. Española picked up a run in the bottom of the third after Daniel Zelic drew a leadoff walk and later scored. That made the score 6-1 after three innings.

The Sundevils held the Elks scoreless the rest of the game. In the bottom of the sixth inning, Johnathan Sanchez and Zelic had solid singles to lead off the inning. Nick Bustos drew a walk. A balk called on Pojoaque pitcher Aguilar brought home a run After a strikeout, Markus Griego drew a walk to load the bases. Brandon Bustos followed with a bunt. Pojoaque forced the runner out at home plate, but the throw to first for an attempted double play went awry and two more runs scored. A fourth run scored on a hit by Chris Atencio to make the score 6-5 after six innings.

After setting the Elks down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh inning, Española couldn’t come up with the equalizer in the bottom of the seventh inning and lost 6-5 to fall to 0-8 on the season.

In the second game, Pojoaque got a run in the top of the first inning, Lyons bringing home Huerta with a base hit. Española answered with two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Griego led off with a base hit and scored on a double by Brandon Bustos. A single by Dale Salazar scored Bustos. The Sundevils led 2-1 after one inning.

Pojoaque tied the score 2-2 with a run in the top of the second inning on a walk to Dominic Tafoya and a hit by Huerta.  Española came back with a run in the bottom of the second, Griego scoring on a hit by Bustos. The Sundevils led 3-2 after two innings.

Complete game and scored four runs to help the Sundevils pick up their first victory of the season 8-4 against Pojoaque March 24 at Espanola. Photo by George Morse for the Valley Daily Post

In the fourth inning, Pojoaque tied the score as Tafoya, who scored three runs, doubled and later scored. Española went back in front with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Griego scored on an error after stroking a one-out single. The Sundevils led 4-3 after four innings.

The turning point in the game was the fifth inning. After the Elks failed to score in the top of the inning, Johnathan Sanchez led off the bottom of the inning with a base hit to right field. Thomas Martinez then hit a slow roller down the first base line. Pojoaque pitcher Tafoya threw to first base, but the ball bounced off of the glove of Andres Soveranez for an error. Two walks, a dropped fly ball and a throwing error led to four runs by the Sundevils, who took an 8-3 lead.

Pojoaque managed a run in the sixth inning. Brandon Fresquez singled and scored on a couple of errors. Española starting pitcher Griego struck out the side despite the run and held Pojoaque scoreless in the seventh inning to preserve the victory. Griego went the distance on the mound and scored four runs for the Sundevils.

Española faces Albuquerque Academy Wednesday (3/28) in its District 2-5A opener and then hosts Taos High School Saturday in a double header.

“Still got to keep climbing,” Española Coach Miguel Andres Duran said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do. We’re finally hitting the ball a little bit better.”