By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun
There is no doubt the Tucumcari Rattler baseball squad can hit the ball. The big question is whether it can do it consistently.
The offense was explosive at times, and quiet at others, as the visiting Santa Rosa Lions survived a 17-5 drubbing in the opener and claimed a 13-7 victory in the nightcap to split Tuesday’s district doubleheader against the host Rattlers.
The games were polar opposites for Tucumcari (8-4, 1-1), which never looked back after a five-run first inning in the opener.
The Rattlers pounded out 12 hits in the opener, three of them coming on home runs.
Adrian Prieto crushed a second-inning pitch for a three-run shot, then centerfielder Dustin Russell led off the third with a shot to right.
The Rattlers ended the game via the 10-run rule in the fifth inning when Andre DeBord hit a three-run shot to left.
“I’m very pleased with the way we played in the first game,” Tucumcari coach Tony Alarcon said.
As for the second game, Alarcon felt the team might have taken things for granted after winning the opener so easily. By the time they were able to do any serious damage against Lion starter Jesus Roybal, Santa Rosa held a 10-4 lead it never relinquished.
“We were facing a left-hander and he threw us off for the first three innings,” Alarcon said of Roybal. “We hit well after that, but we just did it too late.”
Lion coach Lyndsey Padilla felt relieved to get a split after getting blown out in the first game, and credited Roybal for helping the team after it used up a lot of pitching during last weekend’s Santa Rosa Invitational.
“We didn’t have any pitching left after the tournament this weekend,” Padilla said. “He changed things up a little bit.”
The Lions will continue district play this week with a doubleheader at Clayton. The Rattlers are on the road as well, facing Portales on Thursday.
Whether it’s the 3A Rams or district foes, Alarcon said the Rattlers’ success would depend on their ability to avoid ups and downs.
“We’ve got to hit during both games to be successful,” Alarcon said. “Our district is pretty even this year. It’s (going to go to) the team that is going to come out and play consistently in doubleheaders.”