Bar III Construction was at full force Monday night and powered its way past Al’s Mini-Mart Royals, 20-5, to sweep a best-of-three-games semi-final series in the Los Lunas Men’s Softball League ‘A’ tournament playoffs at Daniel Fernandez Park.

“We finally had 10 guys. That makes a difference,” said Bar III pitcher Shawn Ammons. Bar III, the reigning champs, have been getting by using just eight players and the strength of their powerful lineup. “And we were motivated. We weren’t really motivated during the season. We weren’t motivated until we played the Royals.”

Bar III hammered six home runs, one each by six different sluggers, to close out the Royals by “mercy rule” in four innings.

“It was just one of those games for us,” said Royals player/coach Jim Morales, whose team was out-hit 20-10. “You have to give Bar III a lot of credit.”

The Royals took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning on RBI doubles by Philip Barela and Eliseo Aguirre and a run-scoring single by Ray Chavez. But Bar III quickly tied the game in their half of the inning on a three-run blast by Ramon Barela. Ammons followed with a solo shot to put Bar III on top, 4-3.

Playing station-to-station softball, the Royals produced a run on singles by Dave Chavez, Jim Morales and Rob Sexsmith to tie the score in the second.

Bar III scored six runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 10-4 lead. It did it without the benefit of a home run but with the help of three errors by Royals players.

The Royals scored their final run of the game in the third on their only homer a two-out shot by Ray Chavez.

Bar III wasn’t done, however. Flexing its muscles some more, Bar III scoring eight runs on seven hits in the bottom of the inning. Raymond Piper struck the big blow a two-out, three-run homer. Robert Delgado made it back-to-back homers. Marcus Miller also cleared the fence leading off the inning.

After Ammons’ pitching held the Royals scoreless in the fourth, Bar III needed just two more runs to end the contest. It got one right away when Gary Cortez went deep to lead off the inning. Tony Bernal doubled and scored the game-ending run on a double to the gap in left-center field by Lawrence Sandoval.

Leadoff man Bernal scored in all four trips to the plate. He had three hits, as did Sandoval, Ammons and Piper. Ramon Barela was 2 for 2 with five RBIs. Piper also knocked in five runs.

Ray Chavez and Morales were both 2 for 2 to lead the Royals, who finished the season with a 17-3 record.

“We had a blast; we had a good year,” said Morales. “I’m proud of my guys. I wouldn’t trade them for any other players in this league.

“Look for us next year. We’ll be back.”

Bar III won the series opener last Thursday, 27-22. Tempers flared during that game, but cooler heads prevailed on Monday.

“You see what happens,” Ammons said. “Everybody says ‘good game, congratulations, you did a good job.’ That’s how it is. When you get on the field, you’re enemies. But when it’s all said and done, everybody’s friends.”

Bar III will defend its league title in the best-of-five-games championship series against either the Bandits or the Socorro Magic. The Bandits and Magic were scheduled to play Tuesday night in the other semi-final series (no score was available at News-Bulletin press time). The Bandits won the first game of the series, 19-13, last Thursday.

The ‘A’ tournament best-of-five- games championship series will begin with a doubleheader at 7 p.m. Wednesday. Game 3 will be at 7 p.m. Thursday. Game 4 will follow, if necessary. If the series goes to a fifth game, it will be played at 7 p.m. Friday.

Ammons said Bar III is motivated to win another league title. “It’s going to be tough. But all the guys are hitting the ball really well. If we can continue to do that, I think we can win the championship,” he said.

In ‘B’ tournament action on Monday, Jerry Bob Gabaldon led the Diamondbacks to two wins over the Sidewinders in their best-of-five-games championship series. The Diamondbacks hold a 2-1 lead in the series after the Sindwinders took the opener, 19-13, last Thursday.

The series will be decided Wednesday. Game 4 will be played at 7 p.m. If needed, a decisive fifth game will follow.

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