Cleveland outfielder Silas Hilton steals second base in the Storm’s three-run third inning Tuesday, although he wasn’t among them. Hilton was 1 for 5 with two RBIs in the victory.  (Herron photo)

 

ALBUQUERQUE – The Cleveland High baseball team heads into the most important stretch of the season Friday when second-place Volcano Vista (17-5, 5-1 in District 1-5A) visits the Shockyards for a 6 p.m. contest.

The Storm (16-6, 3-2) can forge a tie for second place in the district with a win over the Hawks, who beat them 2-1 in their meeting at VVHS on April 4.

It won’t get any easier for the Storm in the final week of the season, with a game vs. first-place Rio Rancho at 6 p.m. on April 25, before CHS closes out the regular season with a game at last-place Atrisco Heritage Academy at 4 p.m. on the 28th.

Cleveland 15, Cibola 5: Playing on a breezy but sunny afternoon “down the hill” Tuesday, the Storm had four innings in which they scored three or more runs.

Jaren Villa led off the three-run first with a double and went 4 for 5 in the game.

Villa later scored on a wild pitch, and the Storm’s other two runs in the first were unearned, as Cibola made mistakes in the field.

The Storm added four runs in the second, half scoring on a triple by Chase Tyler.

After the Cougars had two hits and three walks from Storm starting pitcher Jared Davis – and managed only one run – Cleveland made it a 10-1 game with three more runs in the third, two crossing the plate on a double by Austin Barela.

Cleveland made it 12-1 when Gabe Nelson socked a two-run homer in the fourth, and after Cleveland was finally held without a run in an inning and close to ending the game via the mercy rule, the Cougars scored three runs off reliever Logan Kinter (3-2), making it 12-4 and extending the game.

Tyler, Silas Hilton and Anthony Del Angel each drove in a run in the sixth, and when Kinter only allowed one run, the game was history.

Tyler, Barela, Del Angel, Nelson and Malachi Jaramillo each had two hits in the Storm’s 16-hit barrage against a trio of Cougar hurlers.

Extra innings: Rio Rancho won its 18th game in a row in Farmington Tuesday, beating the host Scorpions 6-1. The Rams are home Friday at 4 p.m. to face fourth-place Cibola, 1 19-1 victim of the Rams on April 15 at Cibola.