In one of the ugliest games in their 25-season history, the Rio Rancho High School baseball banged out 18 hits and easily routed the Bloomfield Bobcats 22-1 Thursday evening to move into the other Sal Puentes/Rio Rancho Tourney semifinal.
The Rams (14-3) will meet Valley (8-6), a 9-2 winner over Goddard, Friday at 6:30 p.m. in a semifinal.
The way the game began, it didn’t look like it’d turn out so one-sided. Rams starting pitcher Nick Di Gregorio had trouble finding the strike zone, and walked the bases loaded while getting only one out.
Enter Jack Mollner, a southpaw who got the final two outs in the first inning on just three pitches, good for a foul popup and a line out.
The Rams scored one run in the first, five in the second, nine in the third and seven more in the fourth, when newcomer Dillon Archuleta walked from third and into a tag by the Bobcats’ catcher.
Everyone on the Rams’ roster, except for senior pitcher Devon Alvarado, got into the game and almost everyone had at least one hit – except for Casen Savage, who was 3 for 3: After a first-inning walk, he had a bunt single, a two-run triple and a double.
Elijah Castañeda and his replacement, Andrew Carriaga, each had two hits, as did another sub, Bryan Vasquez, and right fielder Noah Braunschweiger.
All told, Bobcats pitchers either walked or hit Rams batters, and nine of those “freebie” base runners crossed the plate.
Mollner (1-0) got the win in relief; Kai Fitak and Castañeda each pitched an inning.