Gavin Hoffman swatted a first-inning grand slam Friday afternoon, and his Cleveland Storm surprised No. 2 Carlsbad, 9-3, in the first Sal Puentes/Rio Rancho Tourney semifinal Friday afternoon.
Lefty Jace Dominic gave up just two hits to the Cavemen (12-3), and both came in the first inning, when he gave up a run.
He struck out eight; the Cavemen scored a pair of runs in the seventh off reliever Logan Kinter, although both were unearned.
In the second semifinal, southpaw Jason Parker (5-0) gave up two hits and struck out five in six innings as No. 1 Rio Rancho (15-1) whipped Valley, 7-0.
The Rams took advantage of four Vikings errors in the first inning, scoring three runs — more than enough for Parker.
Casen Savage and Vascon Smith each had two hits for the Rams, with Smith making two outstanding web gems as the Rams’ second baseman.
Those victories pit Rio Rancho’s varsity teams against each other in Saturday’s championship game at 3 p.m. at RRHS, with the Rams were bidding for their eighth tourney title and the Storm (9-6) were seeking their second.
The Rams beat Cleveland 9-6 in their only other finale of the longtime RRHS tourney, back in 2011.