By Kevin Wilson: Quay County Sun
It was better late than never for pitcher Matt Smith and the Tucumcari Rattler offense.
Tucumcari posted its ninth win of the season Monday, rallying from an early two-run deficit to defeat visiting San Jon, 12-3.
“I’m very pleased with the way we hit the ball,” Tucumcari coach Tony Alarcon said. “The bottom of the lineup came through.”
The 7-8-9 hitters for Tucumcari went 5-for-10 on the day and scored five of the 10 runs that put the game away in the fourth and fifth innings.
Andre DeBord, the Rattlers’ No. 7 hitter, started things off in the fourth with a double to left, part of a six-run rally. All six of the runs were scored with two outs, and Tucumcari sent 11 men to the plate in the inning.
Centerfielder Dustin Russell, batting out of the eighth spot, went 2-for-3 and led off the fifth inning with a ground-rule double. He scored later on a single from Andrez Apodaca, who finished 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI.
“I think we played good,” said catcher Matt Garcia, who went 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and two runs scored. “We were down for a bit but we got things together.”
Garcia scored the final run of the day, advancing home on an error from a Smith grounder. Smith went 2-for-4 with a run scored, but his best work was on the mound. After allowing two runs in the first two innings, Smith only allowed three baserunners the rest of the way.
“He’d been having some trouble,” said Garcia, who helped his pitcher out early by throwing out two baserunners. “He stepped it up. He wasn’t going to give up and he started throwing harder.”
Smith ended up with eight strikeouts and three walks. He allowed the third run of the game on a Will McEntyre homer to cut the lead to 8-3.
The game was called after 5 1/2 innings due to time limitations, with Tucumcari needing one run to end the game via the 10-run rule.
The Rattlers travel to Clayton on Thursday and Santa Rosa on Tuesday for district doubleheaders.