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Saved by the darkness

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso's Isaiah Otero gets the first of his three hits against Hot Springs, April 4, in the first game of a doubleheader at White Mountain Athletic Complex.

RUIDOSO – First, the good news. Ruidoso’s baseball team earned its first victory of the year with a 7-3 decision against Hot Springs, April 3, at White Mountain Complex.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso starter Rylan Tercero came up with a shutout victory over Hot Springs, April 3, at White Mountain Athletic Complex.

Now the bad news. They might have had a second win in the second game of the double header, but the Tigers stormed back to take a 10-9 lead before the game was called on account of darkness.

So, the Warriors weren’t able to get their second win, but at least they didn’t get another loss.

“It’s bittersweet, we needed a win badly and we got one,” said Ruidoso coach Billy Page. “But we had an opportunity to get another one, and we just couldn’t throw strikes.”

For a while in the first game, Ruidoso (1-10) almost needed no hits. Isaiah Otero was the only one with any base knocks for the Warriors through three innings, and their first score came when Josh Duncan scored on a wild pitch in the second inning.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso’s Josh Duncan, right, slides safely into second as Hot Springs fielder Devon Baca can’t handle the throw, April 3, at White Mountain Athletic Complex.

“We’ve been tying to put one (win) together all season, and we wanted it,” said Otero, who finished 3-for-4 with three singles and two runs scored. “We’ve been having a hard time finishing games. I don’t even know if you can practice to finish games, but if we could do that, we’d have at least six wins now. We have to stay focused throughout.”

Eventually, the Warriors did get more scoring, and more hitting from the rest of the lineup. Jared Candelaria got a pair of singles, Grady Woodul, Chris Shalley and Ian McClure each had one-baggers, and Josh Duncan drove in two runs on a fielders choice and sacrifice fly.

On the Mound, Rylan Tercero almost went the distance, pitching 5 1/3 innings before being relieved by Otero.

180403 Ruidoso-Hot Springs scorecard

The Tigers (4-7) scored three runs in the top of the seventh on three hits off of Otero, but it was too late. Tercero finished the game allowing no runs and striking out eight.

Photo by Todd Fuqua Ruidoso third baseman Chris Shalley throws out a Hot Springs batter on an infield grounder, April 4, at White Mountain Athletic Complex.

“Rylan pitched a heck of a game with a no-hitter going,” Page said. “That’s a positive. I’m just wondering where the heck that guy was in Portales.”

Ruidoso certainly started the second game off on a tear, pushing across seven runs in the first inning and looking ready to cruise to their second victory of the season.

But the Warriors squandered a single in a scoreless second inning, while Hot Springs opened up with both barrels in the third and fourth innings.

The Tigers took the lead in the fourth when Cody Escobar was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. It was an inning that saw back-to-back triples by Lorenzo Jaramillo and Benito Villa as part of a 10-hit effort by Hot Springs.

But it was an effort that was ultimately for naught, as the game was called when the sun set behind Sierra Blanca.

“It just got away from us,” Page said. “Thank goodness it got dark. But it was another game we could very easily won.”

Ruidoso’s performance – except for the end of game two – proved what Page said he believes about this team: That they had the potential to go on a five-game win-streak.

Five games is off the table now, but Page still believes the Warriors can sweep District 4-4A opponent Moriarty in a three-game series this weekend.

“Moriarty will be tougher than Hot Springs by all means, but I think it will be competitive and we have a chance,” Page said. “We can’t boot the ball, throw it around or have a snowball fight on the field and expect to win ball games.”

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