The Tucumcari varsity baseball team won two games at Clayton Tuesday. The Rattlers beat the Yellow jackets 5-1 in the first game and 4-3 in the second game.
Matt Braziel pitched even better against Clayton than he had against Estancia earlier in the season. He allowed only one earned run the entire game. Rattler Coach Mike Russell said his pitching staff overall is coming together.
“Matt Braziel pitched a whale of a game,” said Russell. “And John Sewell pitched well in the second game.”
As for hitting, Tucumcari continued to improve on an already good hitting season. The Rattlers racked up 12 hits in the first game. Tim Roybal was 4 for 4, Drew White was 2 for 3, Sewell and A.J. Molinas were 2 for 4. Michael Baca was back in action for the Rattlers after an extended absence. He didn’t get a hit in the first game, but Coach Russell noted another way in which Baca contributes to the team.
“Michael Baca gets on base a lot, “ said Russell. “ He knows how to be patient and draw a walk.”
Despite Tucumcari’s 4-7-1 record, Russell said he is very optimistic concerning the remainder of the season.
“I like the way we are continuing to hit the ball,” said Russell. “We have actually led in most of our games up until the last inning. Our defense is improving also.”
Russell said the team continues to make defensive mistakes, but not as many.
“The real difference now is that when we make mistakes, we are able to play through them. We don’t let the little mistakes take ourselves out of the game,” he said.
Runs Hits Errors
Tcum 5 12 1
Clay 1 7 1
Game two of the doubleheader saw steady pitching by John Sewell. Clayton scored three runs in the game but they were runs scored off errors. The Rattlers have lost some close games in the past. Coach Russell said winning the second game 4-3 is quite an achievement.
“We are learning how to win close games,” he said. “Now we need to work on not leaving guys on base.”
Russell implied that with the number of hits the Rattlers are getting, more runs should be scored. Still, he likes the explosiveness of his Rattler batters.
“We know that in one inning we can turn a game around,” he said. “ We know we can break loose.”
The game’s most dramatic moment came when Tucumcari was at bat in the top of the seventh inning with the game tied at 3 apiece. A.J. Molinas got a base hit and then Tim Roybal hit to drive Molinas in for the winning run. The Rattlers were helped by good hitting from Matt Braziel, Molinas and Larry Roybal. Also Josh Hurley came on strong, going 2 for 3.
Runs Hits Errors
Tcum 4 12 5
Clay 3 8 5