The Belen High School baseball team closed out a disappointing season on Saturday when they dropped both halves of a doubleheader with Deming in Belen, 14-0 and 16-5.
The Eagles had to play their season finale short-handed because of eligibility problems. The Eagles were so short-handed that their usual catcher, Steve Gutierrez, started his first game on the mound, and youngster Jarrod Schmock made his varsity debut behind the plate.
Throughout the day, Belen head coach Mike Gutierrez had to make some creative substitutions, putting second baseman Steve Sanchez on the mound and Schmock at second. And when Michael John Schmock came in from left field to take the mound for the last inning, his brother trotted out to left to take his place, making him the most traveled player on the team.
As if eligibility problems weren’t enough, senior speedster and center fielder Robert Rimorin was experiencing tightness in his right quadricep after trying to qualify for state in the 100-meter dash earlier in the day at the Jim Burke Qualifier in Belen. Rimorin was removed in the fifth inning, despite his objections.
“He just kept telling me, ‘I can go coach,’ but I knew he was hurting,” Gutierrez said. “He is the most dedicated and hard working player out there.”
The Eagles were also having some difficulty at the plate on Saturday. The first five Belen batters struck out, and the Eagles didn’t get their first hit until their were two out in the third inning. Rimorin singled and then stole second base to try to get things going for the Eagles.
“For some reason, the guys were having trouble picking up that guy’s release, we just couldn’t hit him,” Gutierrez said of the Deming pitcher.
The Wildcats scored early and often. With Steve Gutierrez on the mound in the first three innings, Deming scored nine runs.
The Eagles showed some signs of life in the fourth, getting out of the inning 1-2-3 behind Sanchez. In the bottom half, Sanchez also tried to get things going offensively with a blooper into shallow center field. But one out later, Sanchez was caught straying too far off the bag.
The Wildcats piled on five more runs in the fifth to take a 14-0 lead, and the Eagles were never able to recover.
A bright spot for the home team was sophomore Marcus Rimorin, brother of Robert, who got his first varsity hit on the first pitch thrown to him.
Young Rimorin was called up from the junior varsity ranks because of the Eagles’ player shortage.
“I had to come up here and show my brother how to hit,” Marcus joked of his single to shallow right field. “I’m a much better hitter than he is.”
The second game was more of the same for Belen. The game was within reach until the fifth inning when the visitors ran away with the win.
“It’s just the same as every game we had during the season; it’s that one inning we can’t get away from,” Gutierrez said.
Belen ended its season with a 3-16 overall record, 0-12 in District 3-4A.
“It’s over now, we have to take a break and start thinking about next year,” Gutierrez said.