RUIDOSO – At least after Friday’s game, it seems that Ruidoso baseball coach Billy Page was right.
After beating Hot Springs for their first victory of the season, April 3, the Warriors squandered a chance at a second victory in the second game of the doubleheader, but Page was confident in his team with District 4-4A opponent Moriarty coming up.
His confidence proved well-founded, as Ruidoso came up with a 12-5 victory over the Pintos.
“This is huge for our program,” Page said. “I told the kids that this is what happens when you play behind your pitchers. When you hit the ball and do things right, good things will happen for you.”
Ruidoso (2-11, 1-3 district) got the victory thanks to stellar pitching by Grady Woodul, who came up with the complete game victory, holding the Pintos to eight hits.
“I felt comfortable the entire game. I knew it would be good when I was averaging about 12 pitches an inning,” Woodul said. “I felt great the entire game.
“This win was huge,” he added. “Today we can be really satisfied with how we did and this can be a big booster for district.”
Woodul needed 87 pitches to dispatch Moriarty (2-13, 0-4), although it could have been even less had the Warriors been able to get just one more run in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 10-run lead and end the whole thing on the mercy rule.
That magic run was 90 feet away from home when Gabriel Dorame made it to third on a single by Ian McClure with the Warriors leading 11-2, but Xavier Otero grounded out to short to end the inning.
Ruidoso got the win the old-fashioned way, although the Pintos showed they still had plenty of fight in the final frame when Ian Lipke came to bat with Ethan Tolleson on second and sent a 2-and-1 pitch into the wind and over the left field fence.
“They could have dropped their heads and let it be over with,” Page said. “But the kids played behind Grady, he didn’t get shook up about it and went right at the next batter.”
In the end, Woodul was able to get Troy Batie to pop up to second base to end the game and secure the victory.
At the plate, the Warriors teed off against Moriarty starter Antonio Dennison, pushing across five runs on seven hits before he was relieved in the second inning with no outs.
Isaiah Otero and Jared Candelaria had three hits each in the game, and only one starter went without any base knocks.
Ruidoso plays the Pintos two more times Saturday and is looking to even its district record.
“I hope the boys feel good about themselves and stay focused throughout,” Page said. “I’m confident we can ride this momentum, and getting to .500 in district would get us into the playoffs.”