Lady Cardinals upset St. Mike's

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Seven Lady Horseman errors helped visiting Robertson pull off one of its better wins of the season Tuesday, a 7-2 nod at St. Michael’s in Santa Fe.

“We needed it,” said RHS head coach Chris Najar.

It’s been a season of building and learning for the Lady Cardinals, now 5-11 and 2-7 in District 2-3A. RHS lost a half dozen starters from last year’s team but have coalesced into a generally tight-knit group that has improved over the season.

Robertson got a dozen hits off St. Mike’s pitcher Samantha McFall, and the visitors made their baserunners count.

And RHS ace Janice Yara, backed by a stingy defense, put a damper on most of the St. Mike’s hitters. Yara struck out eight and the defense had no errors.

Yara hit 2 of 3 with one walk, and Marka Garcia, Jessica Encinias and Montanna Martinez each went 2 for 4 for the Lady Cardinals.

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Too many dropped fly balls. Too many missed defensive stops. Two runs.

That’s what separated second-place Raton and third-place West Las Vegas on Tuesday; the Tigers held on for a 9-7 decision that pumped their district record to 7-4 while dropping WLV to 7-6. (St. Michael’s leads 2-3A with an 11-1 mark.)

While Raton hit the ball well and exploited a number of defensive miscues, the Dons still were one swing of the bat away from victory.

In the bottom of the seventh, having rallied from a 9-3 deficit with four unanswered runs, West put Isaac Lopez and Jared Gallegos on with walks. That set up Corey Archibeque for a potential game-winning home run. But Tigers closer Derrick Valdez — sent to the mound for exactly one batter — got Archibeque to fly out to center field.

Raton scored the game’s first three runs, including back-to-back RBI doubles by George Marquez and James Haught in the third inning.

West answered beginning with Gallegos’ RBI double in the fourth, followed a few at-bats later by Alex Branch’s two-run double that tied the game.

With four runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth (two via RBI groundouts), the Tigers roared back in front by a 9-3 margin.

Lopez led off with a double in the WLV half of the sixth, and Gallegos followed with a base hit. A failed pickoff attempt by Raton enabled Lopez to score and Gallegos to reach third. So Archibeque notched an RBI on a groundout to make it 9-5.

After relief pitcher T.J. Esquibel retired the side in order in the top of the seventh, West resumed its rally — starting with some of the roster’s youngsters.

Freshman Pancho Caro led off with a single, and eighth-grader Jamarcus Trujillo belted a double to right, sliding safely to second base.

Julio Castillo’s ensuing groundout pushed a run across, and another failed pickoff try resulted in Trujillo’s score, which sliced the Tiger lead to 9-7.

Mike Armijo ground out to shortstop, but Lopez and Gallegos battled through their at-bats for walks against Raton starter Blake Washburn. Washburn was yanked for closer Valdez, who recorded the save by getting Archibeque out.

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In other Tuesday action on the diamonds:

• Robertson’s baseball team lost 7-1 at St. Mike’s. The Cardinals are 11-12 overall and 4-9 in district, good for fifth place between Pojoaque and Santa Fe Indian.

• West Las Vegas’ softball team lost 9-4 to Raton, slipping to 9-12, 5-6. West is sitting in third place behind 8-1 Raton and 5-2 Pojoaque. The Lady Dons allowed four early runs before playing the Lady Tigers fairly evenly the rest of the way.