By William Thompson: Quay County Sun
The Tucumcari Rattlers lost 12-2 to the Tularosa Wildcats on Monday in the first round of the Class 2A state baseball tournament at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque.
The loss ended the Rattlers’ season at 13-8. Tularosa’s Nash Kowatch hit a three-run homer in the third inning that put the Wildcats up 5-2 and hurt Tucumcari’s morale, according to Rattler shortstop Michael Baca.
“I think our whole team got down on ourselves,” Baca said. “It’s hard to come back from a home run like that.”
Rattler Coach Tony Alarcon agreed.
“After the three-run homer, the morale went down,’ Alarcon said. “It shouldn’t have because we were only down three runs. The morale never picked up.”
The Rattlers had trouble hitting the ball after they scored two runs early off hits by Matt Braziel, Drew White and Matt Garcia.
John Sewell, who relieved Braziel on the mound in the fourth inning, said the Rattlers hit the ball to Tularosa fielders for easy outs.
“We could not hit the ball at all,” Sewell said. “There was nothing we could do. It was frustrating.”
Braziel expressed frustration at the Wildcats’ ability to hit the ball at will.
“They just hit the ball well throughout their lineup,” Braziel said. “Their ninth batter was just as good as their No. 1 batter.”
Baca summed it up.
“I couldn’t believe they were hitting the ball that well,” he said.
Tularosa improved its season record to 17-5 with the win.
Alarcon said the state tournament is no time for a team to have trouble at the plate.
“You can’t go into the state tournament and not hit the ball effectively and expect to be successful,” Alarcon said.
But the season, he said, was a success.
“I consider our regular season to be a success and our postseason when we won Region A. Myself, Coach Mike Russell, and Coach Ronnie Davis are proud of our team’s effort.”