The Taos Tigers baseball team ends the week 7-2 in the district after a 21-5 win in Pojoaque Valley and sweeping their double-header with Moriarty at home Saturday (April 27).
While the scores of the games with Moriarty might give the impression that they were blowouts from the start, they weren't. Both were well-played on both sides and close for the first five innings. Then, in both games, Taos broke away in the sixth inning. A common ingredient to both game-changing offensive innings: Enrique Archuleta.
Game 1: Taos 15, Moriarty 5
Taos and Moriarty went almost one-for-one in each inning of the first game. Moriarty put one on the board in the top of the first inning, Taos matched it in the bottom. The Tigers got a narrow 2-1 lead in the second, but the Pintos tied it in the top of the third. The Tigers came back with one in the bottom of the third for a score of 3-2.
The Tigers and Pintos earned one each in the fourth, again shifting from a 3-3 tie to a one-point lead for Taos. In the fifth, the Pintos came back with 2, giving them a 5-4 advantage.
Now we get to the sixth. The Pintos had their first point-free inning, so Taos had a 5-4 lead when they came up to bat in the bottom of the inning.
With the bases loaded, Archuleta came to the plate and hit a line drive deep into right field - an infield grand slam - giving Taos a 9-4 lead and the prevailing wind of fortune. The Tigers were able to keep the momentum, and after 6 more runs, the game was ended on the 10-run rule.
Game 2: Taos 15, Moriarty 8
The Pintos got up early in the second game with two runs in the first. The Tigers were scoreless the first two innings, but tied it up 2-2 in the bottom of the third. As in the first game, both teams played good ball, making a great time for spectators.
In the top of the fourth, the Pintos had two outs. A line drive between first and second looked like sure to generate an RB I or two - until a diving, somersault of a catch from Archuleta closed out the inning.
A remark of, "He's having quite a day!" was met with, "He usually does!" from Noah Armijo's father.
In the bottom of the fourth, a ground ball from Quinn Moon took a Taos-friendly bounce right over the pitcher, getting Milo Collignon to second and Moon to first. Armijo advanced each of them one base with a ground ball that got him thrown out at first.
A ground ball from 15 was mishandled at first base and got two Taos runners across home plate, making a score of 4-2. One of the Moriarty coaches initially thought that the first base umpire called the ball foul, but when the call didn't go the Pintos way, he dropped it immediately and walked into the dugout encouraging his players, "We just gotta catch that, though."
In the fifth inning, after a particularly unlikely catch by Taos center fielder Jordan Cisneros, the father of Moriarty's third baseman remarked, "That kid's robbed us of like seven or eight runs." Indeed, most of the day it did seem like he could catch anything.
Moriarty's Justin Carmona had a big hit, but it was fielded well and 6 was held to a triple. A balk walked a runner in and made it 4-3 Taos, which was the score at the end of the fifth inning which ended without a run from the Tigers.
The Pintos had a dynamite top of the sixth.
While sending in a designated runner for pitcher Troy Batie, the Moriarty base coach advised him, quite amiably, "Don't be dumb."
When the next Pinto pinch runner came onto the field after the next base hit, the Moriarty fans chuckled, "Don't be dumb," all enjoying how much easier that advice is to give than to follow.
The Pinto runners did play it smart, and together with their nice hitting, they won themselves 5 runs in the sixth. The bottom of the sixth opened 8-4, Moriarty.
The Tigers kept their eyes open, and without swinging at anything that didn't merit it, loaded the bases. A walk then a hit batter made it 8-6 with no outs. A line drive right down the center from Jalen Montano made it 8-7, and a base hit from German Perez tied the score up at 8 all. A base hit from Collignon gave Taos a 9-8 lead.
Which brought up Archuleta, with the bases loaded. A triple deep to center field brought in three runs, making it 12-8 Taos. From the Taos dugout came cries of, "Enrique! You're my hero!"
The Tigers scored three more in the inning for a total of 11 runs in the sixth and a winning score of 15-8.
The Tigers have three more games scheduled for the regular season. They are set to play in Los Alamos at 4 p.m. Tuesday (April 30) after this section goes to press and they host Española Valley for games at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday (May 4).