QCS Senior Writer
It was a tale of fifth innings as the (12-8) (3-4) Tucumcari Rattlers baseball team split a district doubleheader with the (13-7) (3-3) Santa Rosa Lions Thursday at Tucumcari.
The first game ended in the fifth as the Lions overran the Rattlers with a 12-0 lead.
In the second game, however, the Rattlers trurned things around in the fifth and ultimately won the contest. In that second game, the Lions were leading the Rattlers 3-2 at the bottom of fifth inning, having taken advantage of a error at home plate and scoring a run. With two out and two on base, Rattlers sophomore catcher Daniel Lopez hit a line drive to center field. Lopez’s hit brought in two runners for the score before he was run down in a pickle between third and second base for the third out.
“I knew we just needed a hit,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t trying to win the game with one swing. I was doing as coach has always said, ‘Just get a base hit’.”
In the sixth inning Rattlers pitcher Junior Saul Moriel struck out the second batter and with a strong throw, Lopez beat a Lions runner trying to steal second base. Moriel struck out the third batter to close out the inning and maintaining the Rattlers lead.
“I just kept focusing on the batter and trusting in my team to play good defense,” Moriel said.
The Rattlers were not able to score in the bottom of the sixth inning; they had been having trouble with hitting consistently throughout the lineup for both games.
“We have to work on our hitting,” Lopez said. “We can’t keep leaving runs out on the base. We need to play with more confidence.”
Moriel’s pitching was spot-on with the Lions, whose first two batters were out as a result of pop flies, the first to sophomore second baseman Jesus Gamboa and the second to junior first baseman Chris Sandoval. Moriel struck out the third batter to close out the game.
The Rattlers played against the (16-1) (5-0) Texico Wolverines at 4 p.m., Today at Tucumcari.
No official score is available.
“If we play our ‘A’ game, then we can beat the Wolverines,” Lopez said. “We just need to step it up on offense and continue to play solid defense, limiting our errors.”