Steers lose doubleheader to Laguna Acoma

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Though the Magdalena Steers lost both ends of its season-opening baseball doubleheader to Laguna Acoma last Saturday, promise filled the air. A young and inexperienced Steers team was competitive, losing by scores of 6-1 and 9-3 that weren’t indicative of how close the games really were.

“When you’re down 2-1 in the sixth, with runners in scoring position and an opportunity to go ahead with a base hit, you played a pretty good ballgame,” said Steers head coach Manuel Martinez of the opener. “I feel pretty good about the way we started against a team that almost beat Socorro last week.”

Magdalena pitcher Dylan Julian kept the Steers in it, allowing the Hawks to score single runs in the first and third innings. He ran out of gas in the seventh, however, when Laguna broke the game open with four runs.

Julian was effectively wild, walking six through six innings. Another walk and a couple of singles in the seventh chased him from the game.

Martinez praised Julian’s effort, noting that his starting pitcher is one of several players who have just two weeks of practice under their belt because the MHS basketball team was in the state playoffs.

A walk to Isaac Gallegos to lead off the game led to Laguna’s first run. Gallegos tripled in the third and eventually scored when Julian walked a batter with the bases loaded.

Magdalena had a chance to go ahead in the sixth, thanks to some Laguna miscues. Daniel Hand reached on an error, stole second and third base and scored on another error. The Hawks recovered in time to strand two Magdalena base runners and preserve their lead.

Magdalena got just two hits in the contest — one by Dre Montoya and the other by Jonathan D’Amore.

In the second game, Gallegos again ignited the Hawks with a leadoff single off Montoya, Magdalena’s starter, and later scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Steers threatened to tie the game in the bottom half of the inning when Hand was hit by a pitch. He stole second again and advanced to third on an errant throw. But two comebackers and a fly out prevented the Steers from scoring.

A windblown fly ball over the center fielder’s head accounted for the Hawks’ second run in the second inning.

The Steers mounted a two-out rally in the bottom of the frame, with D’Amore and John Rhodes knocking singles in the hole between first and second base. Jerry Torres then beat out an infield single to cut the deficit to 2-1. But the inning ended when Torres was thrown out trying to steal.

After the Hawks added single runs in the third and fourth, the Steers again had an opportunity to score. Julian reached on an error and No. 6 singled with one out. D’Amore then got good wood on a pitch, but it was hit sharply right at the shortstop, starting a 6-4-3 double play, and the score remained 4-1 going into the fifth.

The Hawks added two runs in the top of the frame to take a 6-1 lead. But the Steers answered back with two of their own on RBI singles from Montoya and D’Amore. Magdalena was still in the game, down 6-3 with two innings to play.

But the Steers’ youth and inexperience showed up again. Aided by Magdalena errors, the Hawks tacked on more runs to win by a seemingly comfortable margin.

Despite the losses, Martinez felt good about the way his team played.

“I was pretty happy with the first two games of the season,” he said. “The difference was that Laguna got the key hits and score when they had runners in scoring position, and we weren’t able to do that. If we could get one or two hits in those situations, it would have changed the game.”

The Steers played their second doubleheader of the season on Friday at East Mountain (no results were available at El Defensor Chieftain press time). They play another set of games today (Saturday) at Monte del Sol in Santa Fe. The Steers return home to host Socorro High School’s junior varsity on Thursday, March 29, with games scheduled for 3 and 5 p.m.

 


-- Email the author at tslast@dchieftain.com.