The Tigers beat the Jaguars 4-2 in the final meeting of the Valencia County’s two cats’ regular season.
“Tonight, we needed a win,” said Los Lunas head coach Shaun Reed. “We made them work, and we put the ball in play.”
Los Lunas (13-7, 3-5) put a few runners on base in the first inning, but couldn’t capitalize. It was Valencia (12-13, 1-7) who got on the board first with after senior Jeremy DiBartolomeo ran home in the bottom of the first.
However, in the second inning, the Tigers struck back. Senior Estevan Padilla and sophomore Logan Heath got on base via walks. Junior Chris Lucero hit a two-run double to send them home, giving the Tigers a 2-1 lead at the top of the second. In the third inning, junior Lance Lueras and Heath knocked in two more runs, giving the Tigers a commanding 4-1 lead.
Los Lunas held that lead until the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Valencia tried to rally. Senior Davin Gonzales hit a one-run single, but it was two little too late, and the Tigers came out on top with a win.
“They fought well,” said Valencia head coach Carlos Carrasco. “They competed all the way to the end. We didn’t have a bad inning today. They didn’t give up and played as hard as they could.”
Up next for both teams is the first round of the playoffs on the road. Valencia will begin their best-of-three series at Artesia at 7 p.m., Friday night. Los Lunas will head to Los Alamos for their first round game at 4 p.m., Friday.
Meanwhile, Belen (13-13, 6-2) toppled Grants 10-4 in their last game of the regular season. The Eagles will travel to Valley to take on the Vikings in their first round game at 4 p.m., Friday.