With winter backing into the Taos area and the rest of the top half of the state for the final weekend of the 2017 baseball season, the Taos Tigers and several New Mexico Activities Association teams could not finish their respective games on time. The much-anticipated doubleheader between the St. Michael’s Horsemen and the Tigers was rescheduled twice after a midweek rain and snowstorm turned the red clay base paths and pitcher’s mound of Cardenas Field into a red velvet mess. Originally scheduled to take place the afternoon of April 27, the pair of games to decide the district championship were moved to midmorning April 28. Mother Nature would ultimately play a role in the contest – causing the teams to yield to giant falling snowflakes and standing water.
Only 2 1/2 innings were played before both head coaches and the umpires deemed the field conditions too unsafe to continue.
By the time play was suspended, Taos had amassed a 10-3 lead off a bevy of hits in the bottom of the third inning. With no outs and a change of pitchers for St. Mike’s, the Tigers loaded the bases twice and moved runners across the plate – scoring eight earned runs and cycling through their entire lineup. A deep hit ball for a triple by Miguel Quintana that accounted for three runs batted in (RBIs) was the last play before the game was halted.
With permission from the New Mexico Activities Association, the games were allowed to resume on Sunday, April 30 – a rare occurrence, but a befitting day for afternoon baseball. The event drew sizable crowds for both the Tigers and the Horsemen.
The Tigers picked up where they left off and racked up two more runs to end the third inning and added four more in the bottom of the fourth. The game was called as a result of the “10-run rule” after the Horsemen were unable to close the deficit in the top of the fifth. The final score: Taos 16, St. Mike’s 4.
With momentum and home field advantage in their favor, the Tigers were seemingly in the driver’s seat. A strong first inning at the plate for the Horsemen, however, would garner a four-run lead for St. Mike’s that the team would not give up. Senior pitcher Jason Romero held the Tigers scoreless for five innings and was able to hold off a seventh-inning rally by Taos for the 7-2 win. With a single game win earlier in the season, the Horsemen claimed the 2-1 series win over Taos and the upper hand if a tiebreaker became needed.
Another doubleheader that was canceled due to weather was the final regular-season meeting between the Tigers and the Pojoaque Valley Elks April 29. That pair of games was played on Monday, May 1, with Taos losing game one 8-2 and winning game two 20-1. The split gave the Tigers a final district record of 7-5 – solidly in second place in the district after the Horsemen easily swept the Robertson Cardinals at Christian Brothers Sports Complex in Santa Fe to win the district outright May 1.
Following the completion of all regular-season games, the Tigers learned of their invitation to the state tournament via a New Mexico Activities Association selection show that took place May 1 at 11:30 p.m.
Taos received a No. 5 seed in Class 4A and will host the No. 12 seed, the Sandia Prep Sundevils, for a best-of-three series opener May 5-6. This will be a rematch from last year’s semifinal game in which Sandia Prep eliminated Taos 9-6 in Río Rancho May 13. The Sundevils would eventually go on to claim the Class 4A state title with a 13-0 victory over Portales. This is the second consecutive year that Taos will host the first round of the state playoff at Cardenas Field.
Other District 2-4A teams making it into the tournament include the Horsemen (No. 3 seed), West Las Vegas Dons (No. 9 seed) and Robertson Cardinals (No. 6 seed).
Games will start at 6 p.m. on Friday (May 5) and 11 a.m. on Saturday (May 6) for a possible doubleheader. Cost to enter the game is $5 each day for everyone, and fans must park in the main parking lot south of Anaya Stadium.