By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun
SAN JON — In retrospect, snow might have been the best thing to happen to the Tucumcari High School baseball team.
Snow forced the Rattlers to work primarily on hitting Wednesday, and the Rattler bats heated up when the weather did in time for the San Jon Invitational.
Tucumcari pushed its record to 3-2 and scored 40 runs in two run-ruled games Friday against Floyd and San Jon’s second unit.
Juniors Matt Smith and Drew White each hit two-run homers to end a 17-7 rout against Floyd, then the Rattlers sent 19 men to the plate in the third inning en route to a 23-5 thrashing of San Jon No. 2 in the nightcap. Both games ended in the fifth inning via the 10-run mercy rule.
Tucumcari faces San Jon’s first unit in a 1 p.m. game today to close out its appearance in the round-robin tournament.
Smith also homered in the second game with a center-field shot in the 15-run inning. In the case of each home run, Smith said there wasn’t too much strategy.
“I was up there to hit, got a good pitch and hit it,” Smith said. “Everyone stepped up today and hit the ball really well.”
Adrian Prieto started the big inning for the Rattlers with a three-run homer to left center, scoring Aric Trujillo and leadoff hitter Gabriel Anaya. Eight of the next nine hitters reached base for Tucumcari.
Rattler coach Tony Alarcon felt it was a better offensive output than last Saturday, when San Jon defeated the Rattlers 9-8 in 15 innings.
“With the weather, we were forced to hit inside with the (batting) cage,” Alarcon said. “We had some batting practice against live pitching Thursday, which helped.
“I’m pleased with the players, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”
After allowing three runs in the first, Rattler pitcher Jared Rael calmed down and allowed only three baserunners the rest of the way. Rael allowed five runs — four earned with seven strikeouts and three walks in five innings of work.