Rio Rancho High School coach Ron Murphy, right, and Storm boss Shane Shallenberger go over the ground rules before the game with an umpire. It’s not like they haven’t played there before, but it’s a baseball tradition. (herron photo)
The City of Vision’s two varsity baseball teams seemed headed in opposite directions after Cleveland visited Rio Rancho on Thursday afternoon.
The Rams won that game, extending their winning streak to 13 games; with the loss, the Storm had gone two games in a row – 14 innings – with just five hits and one run.
Rio Rancho 6, Cleveland 0: On the nicest day of the year, with clear blue skies and a packed grandstand, the host Rams (15-1-2, 2-0 in District 1-5A) jumped on Storm starter Jaden Davis for three first inning runs, capped by Vascon Smith’s home run.
The bottom of the Rams’ lineup contributed to wo more runs in the second inning, after singles by Josh Boyer and Dylan Tinker preceded a sacrifice fly from Casen Savage and an RBI single from Kai Fitak.
Silas Hilton moved form the outfield to the mounds to start the bottom of the third, when the Rams scored their final run without hitting a ball into fair territory: With one down, Sean Vigil walked, went to second on a wild pitch and soon scored on a throwing error by Storm catcher Owen Bishop.
After Hilton pitched two innings, Logan Kinter pitched the next two, but the damage was done. The Rams managed only one hit after the second inning, but the Storm hitters were ineffective for a second day in a row.
Rams senior hurler Seth Lee (4-0) retired the first 10 Storm (14-5, 1-2) Cleveland batters he faced, striking out four, before hitting Chase Tyler with a pitch in the fourth. Austin Barela singled and Tyler stopped at second.
That rally was quickly snuffed: Hilton’s fly ball to centerfielder Savage was caught for the second out, with Tyler headed to third, but Barela was over-anxious, trying to advance to second, and was nabbed before he got to second.
Lee’s next streak of seven outs in a row ended after Tyler singled to lead off the seventh and Barela doubled to left.
Enter Dylan Archuleta – exit the Storm. Archuleta fanned Hilton and Kinter and got Anthony Del Angel to ground out to Rams shortstop Nico Alcala.
Lee said he wanted to throw a complete game “so bad, but, obviously, putting Archie in was the right decision. Our defense today was amazing as well.”
“It was beautiful – so hot,” Lee said of pitching on a beautiful spring day. “It was hot today, but I like playing in the ‘warm.’ I was hitting all my spots and, when they hit it, my guys were there. … We’re clicking on all cylinders”
Not quite at the midpoint, there’s obviously a long way to go and changes can occur before the state tournament.
The Storm entertain the Rams at the Shockyards at 6 p.m. on April 25.
Volcano Vista 2, Cleveland 1: Signed to play in the future at the University of Illinois, Volcano Vista lefty Regan Hall shackled the visiting Storm bats to two hits on April 5, a well-played district contest on the West Side.
Cleveland starter Barela went the distance also, scattering five hits. Hall shut down the Storm with the tying run at second base in their final at-bats, securing a key victory for the Hawks.
Originally slated for April 4, horrendous wind blasts forced postponement to the next day, much nicer for players and fans.
James Brevig walked the scored CHS’s only run in the third inning. Hilton and Jarren Villa had singles off Hall.
Tied at 1 heading into the bottom of the sixth, a Hawk’s fly ball to right-center was misplayed into a double by the Storm, and that runner came around to score an out later on a fielder’s choice, with third baseman Malachi Jaramillo’s throw a bit off the mark to catcher Owen Bishop.
“The sun (is a problem in right field) and the wind usually blows out that way,” CHS coach Shane Shallenberger said. “We were in it right there till the end – a good pitching duel between Austin and Regan.”
Extra innings: The Rams are at Volcano Vista on Tuesday, April 11, and home next Friday, April 14, at 4 to entertain Atrisco Heritage Academy. RRHS won the first meeting, 24-0, in five innings at AHA on March 28. The Rams will play at Cibola at 11 a.m. on Saturday for a game postponed from April 4 due to inclement weather.
… The Rams have changed the start times for their regular-season home games on April 21 (vs. Cibola) and April 28 (vs. Volcano Vista) from 6 p.m. to 4 p.m.
… Cleveland is home Tuesday at 6 p.m. to face Atrisco Heritage Academy, and then at La Cueva Wednesday. at 4 p.m.