The Belen High School baseball and softball teams each lost one-run games to Albuquerque Academy on Saturday in District 3-5A play.
Playing at home, the Lady Eagles lost a pitcher’s duel, 1-0. The outcome leap-frogged Academy (4-2 in district play, 9-7 overall) past Belen (3-2, 7-7) and into sole possession of second place in the district
“It’s tough to swallow a loss like this, but I’m not disappointed,” Lady Eagle head coach Nettie Salas said. “The girls are doing things right. Losses like this help the team to build character.”
The two teams held each other scoreless for the first four innings, but in the fifth, the Lady Chargers cashed in on their first good scoring opportunity of the game. A ground ball out scored the only run of the game.
“When they scored their run, we maybe could have played it differently, but it wasn’t a bad decision on the girls part,” Salas said. “That’s just the way the ball goes sometimes.”
Belen pitcher Darlene Baca struck out the next batter for the third out to avoid further damage. Baca threw all seven innings, gave up one run on four hits and struck out four but took the loss to drop her record to 6-6 this season.
The Eagles held the Chargers at bay for the next two innings, allowing no more runs in the sixth or seventh. However, the Chargers, behind the pitching of Dylann Haas and Laurel Sagartz, who combined to hold Belen to just three hits, kept the Eagles off the scoreboard entirely.
The Lady Eagles threatened to score in their final at bat, though, when Navora Cordova led off the seventh inning with a bunt and reached safely. The next batter, Martina Chavez, singled to right field. Senior Andrea Gomez then laid down a sacrifice bunt that put the tying and winning runs in scoring position with one out.
Senior Katherine Archuleta then hit a grounder back to Sagartz. Cordova started home from third base but was thrown out at the plate.
Belen loaded the bases again after Miriah Salas drew a walk. That brought up Baca, who drove in the winning run in Belen’s previous game — a 2-1 Belen win over Las Cruces Oñate. But this time, Baca flew out to the second baseman to end the game.
“The girls know that it’s going to be like this sometimes,” Salas said. “As long as we keep creating opportunities to win, once in a while, you’ll pull some off.”
Andrea Gomez led the Lady Eagles offensively, going 1-1, while Sharron Montoya went 2-3 in the game.
Belen baseball — Meanwhile at Academy, the Eagle baseball team dropped a heartbreaker to the Chargers, 4-3, in the eighth inning.
“We didn’t lose this game with errors like we did our last game,” Belen head coach Mike Gutierrez said. “We just weren’t hitting the ball as well as we could have.”
The Eagles are still having difficulty turning in a complete game, according to Gutierrez.
“When one thing is going good for us, something else falls apart,” he said. “This was a game we really could have won.”
The loss dropped the Eagles to 3-11 overall, 0-7 in district play.
Both teams faced Silver High School on Tuesday — the girls at home and the boys on the road (no score was a available at News-Bulletin press time).
The Eagle boys return home on Saturday, April 20, when the Academy Chargers come to town for a doubleheader, while the girls will travel to Albuquerque for two games of their own. The girls will be getting an early start in Albuquerque, 9 a.m., because of prom, and the boys game will start at 10 a.m. in Belen.