The Los Lunas and Belen high school softball teams are ready to take to the diamond to start the 2002 season. The first game will be the annual intra-county game between the two schools. The opening pitch will be thrown at 4 p.m. on Thursday in Los Lunas.
“This game will bring a lot of emotion,” Belen head coach Nettie Salas said. “Rivalries always tend to be close.”
This game is not only an important rivalry game but the first measuring stick for the two teams.The game will allow both teams to assess their strengths and weaknesses and show them where improvement is needed.
“We’ll be prepared to play,” said Salas, who led the Eagles to a 12-9 overall record, 6-6 in district 3-4A play last year in her first season as head coach. “This (game) will let us see what we have this year.”
Los Lunas head coach Glenn Trujillo, in his first year as the Lady Tigers’ head coach, could not be reached on Tuesday. But he inherits a young team that managed a 2-18 record last year and failed to win a district game under coach Mike Chamberlain.
The Los Lunas School Board decided not to re-hire Chamberlain after one year, instead turning to Trujillo to try to resurrect a program that has struggled for years.
Trujillo led two Enchantment Little League All-Star teams to state championships over the last two summers.
Belen is returning the more experienced squad and has to be considered the favorite again this year, as the Lady Eagles have dominated the rivalry in recent seasons. Belen has won all five of the meetings between the county rivals in the last three years.
However, in a rivalry game, anything can happen. Take last year for example; coming off a state tournament season, the Eagles were heavy favorites. But they escaped with two close victories by scores of 8-6 and 5-4.