Out-hit, but not out-scored, the Cleveland High softball team bounced back from its Metro championship game loss to edge visiting Valley 3-2 Tuesday afternoon in an opening-round game of the Cleveland Classic at the Shockyards.
Scoreless through the first five innings, the Storm took a brief lead after Tavia Fragua reached on an error and one out later, Aubrey Jaramillo hit a home run.
The 2-0 lead after six innings didn’t last long, even with Storm ace Avi Fierro in the circle.
The Vikings (6-4), who finished eighth at the Metro tournament, used a one-out double, an RBI-single, a walk and an infield single to tie the game, and were threatening to take the lead when Fierro fanned Aaliyah Penn with two teammates on base.
With snow starting to fall on the chilly afternoon, Mercedes Lovato walked with one down in the bottom of the seventh.
After Lovato went to second on a wild pitch, Fierro lofted a fly ball to right field, which was caught for the second out. But the right fielder’s relay to the Vikings’ second baseman was dropped, and Lovato streaked home with the winning run.
The Vikings had seven hits in the contest, with Fierro striking out seven. Vikings hurler Jerzey Gutierrez more than held her own in the circle, striking out five, but walking five, and allowing just three hits.
A key play in the game that shouldn’t go unnoticed came in the fifth, when the Vikings had the bases loaded with one out, and Storm catcher Ryen Herman fired a missed bunt attempt to third baseman Fragua, catching the base runner off the bag. Fierro then struck out that batter to end the frame.
Storm kept rolling
Despite that inauspicious start Tuesday, the Storm won their next two games of the Classic, 16-5 over Manzano on Wednesday and 6-1 over Roswell on Friday, thus needing only a Saturday afternoon(3 p.m.) win over Farmington to clinch the title.
Hobbs hammers the Rams
This wasn’t supposed to happen on the south side of Northern Boulevard: Rio Rancho was relegated into the third-place game of its annual Kristin Griego after being whipped 12-4 by Hobbs Friday afternoon.
It was the Rams’ third game of the day (the Rams beat Taos 14-1 and Eldorado 11-1 earlier), and after scoring four runs in the top of the first, the Rams’ offense went kaput – and the Eagles started hitting home runs and playing well defensively to advance into Saturday’s championship game at 2 p.m. vs. Carlsbad, a 7-5 winner over Volcano Vista in the other Friday semifinal.
Those games made for some pre-district meetings: District 4-5A foes Carlsbad (12-0) vs. Hobbs (10-2) and District 1-5A foes Volcano Vista (12-2) and the Rams (9-6), who play for third place Saturday at 10 a.m.