RUIDOSO – It was quite a turnaround for Ruidoso’s 50/70 All-Star team on June 30 in the District 2 tournament at Eagle Creek, as the host team put up 14 runs in the first three innings and held off a late charge to beat Capitan 17-6.
The victory avenged Ruidoso’s 16-11 loss two nights earlier, and sets up a final championship game tonight at 6 p.m., with the winner getting a berth in the State tournament at Portales.
After stranding two Capitan runners in the top of the first, Ruidoso jumped all over Tiger starter Daron Kahlich, putting up six runs on six hits and driving Kahlich from the mound.
The first five Ruidoso batters all scored, including Logan Good, who drove in a run with a triple.
Another big inning came in the third with seven runs, punctuated by an inside-the-park home run by Griffin Hooker to score two.
Capitan, meanwhile, couldn’t find the spark it needed, as Jonathan Ledesma went the distance in five innings, fanning seven batters and allowing just four earned runs on the night.
“I didn’t throw much against Mescalero, so I expected to throw three or four innings. I just didn’t expect to throw the whole game,” Ledesma said. “My arm was getting pretty tired, but I got through it. All my teammates making diving catches and scoring, it really pumped me up.”
Ruidoso, meanwhile, was tearing up Capitan pitching with 16 hits, most of them for extra bases.
Capitan had to go through three pitchers, but nothing seemed to go right for them.
There was a minor comeback in the top of the fourth, when Capitan put up four runs and were just two runs shy of getting within 10 and staving off an early finish.
But it just wasn’t enough.
“We just couldn’t wake up our bats tonight,” said Capitan coach Marcelino Gallegos. “Hopefully they’ll come ready to play defense, ready to hit and ready to play ball tomorrow.”
Now, with both teams facing a “win-or-go-home” situation, Ruidoso coach Cade Hall knows the stakes are high, but feels much better about his team’s chances after Friday night.
“They’re playing close to their potential. They’ve got a lot more to offer,” Hall said. “We still made too many mistakes, but they played a lot better than they had so far in this tournament, so I’m happy with them.”