A tough Estancia varsity baseball team scored 17 runs on the Rattlers in the first game of a doubleheader Monday, and then had a battle on their hands in the second game which went eight innings.
Rattler Coach Mike Russell said he would like to forget the first game, but was extremely pleased with the Rattlers’ play in the second game.
“During that second game our players found out what we are capable of,” said Russell. “It was the first time this season where we really came together as a team.”
Estancia, 8-1 on the season, never had the lead in the second game until the bottom of the eighth inning. Tucumcari jumped to a 3-0 lead. They allowed the Bears to tie three times but played with confidence heading into the bottom of the eighth. With the game tied 6-6 and only one out to go, an Estancia batter hit a blooper over the head of Tucumcari’s first baseman to score the winning run.
Coach Russell had nothing but praise for starting pitcher Matt Braziel.
“Matt Braziel pitched his best game of the season,” said Russell. “Of the seven runs Estancia scored in the second game, only two were the result of bad pitches.”
Braziel also batted well during both games of the doubleheader, finishing 6 of 7 for the day. John Sewell was perfect from the batter’s box in the second game, getting four hits. Levi Montano hit an inside the park home run.
The Rattlers had 20 hits in the second game alone.
Coach Russell Said his team felt good about themselves despite the close loss.
“Our team knows that we outplayed Estancia in the second game,” he said. “I think this represents a turning point for us.”
Russell said the 17-6 loss in the first game was due to errant pitching and defensive mistakes.
“Our starting pitcher walked more batters than usual,” said Russell. “We didn’t help ourselves in the field.”
The Bears of Estancia were a scoring machine early in the first game. They scored seven runs in the first inning, five in the second and three in the third inning. Excellent hitting by Matt Braziel and John Sewell was not enough to overcome Estancia’s barrage of hits.