Not even a cottonball of a cloud shadowed the distant Sangre de Cristos Tuesday afternoon, providing Iaasic Pena the perfect view of his two-run homer soaring away into a near-infinite backdrop.
"He kept throwing strikes.was a pretty good pitcher," said Ignacio's junior catcher, of Sargent's Michael Ulibarri. "Threw a couple curveballs, I sat on it.hit a couple foul.then he gave me one right down the middle. So I just took it, drove it!"
But the third-inning blast was merely a Roman candle on the cake. Pena's one-out double back in the first plated sophomore Anthony Manzanares, and the San Luis Valley sky swiftly became the limit for the Bobcats in a 25-3 flogging of the non-league Farmers.
"Well we came in thinking they were going to be a little better," sophomore shortstop Tucker Ward said, sensing SHS was without some of their regulars. "So I think our mind was in the right spot.we just came out, hit good!"
IHS was coming off a tense 8-7 win over 4A Durango's C-team [March 22] to save third place in the Piedra Vista (Farmington, N.M.) Panther Invitational's third-tier "Silver Bracket."
IHS wasted little timein tagging Ulibarri for six more runs in the opening half-frame. That was more than enough support for sophomore righty Rain Rosa.
"We were just trying to get what we came here to do. And that's a 'W,'" he said. "Our defense backed me up and I just tried to toss 'em in there, let 'em hit-trying to strike some people out!"
But as the #9 hitter in Lupe Huerta's team, Rosa (W; 2.1 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K, 3 HB) did his best damage when on offense. He went 3-for-5, scoring twice, and driving in a team-high five including three [Tucker Ward, Bo Ward, Adison Jones] on a two-out, bases-clearing double in the visitors' second.
"It was mainly just focus, you know? They're throwing pretty good, and so you just have to make solid contact, place your hits," Rosa said, "and I was able to do that."
Ignacio slammed the door on 2A Sargent for good with 11 runs in the top of the fifth, in which Huerta was able to empty his bench and enjoy the reserves' production.
Timmy Plehinger, for example, reached on an error, singled and doubled, scored twice and plated three after spelling starting centerfielder Adam Herrera, and Javan Webb went 1-2 with a walk, two runs and two RBI after replacing Jones at first. Joe Herrera went 1-2 with a run and two RBI in place of Torres.
Pena finished 3-4 and was beaned once, scored four times and knocked in three to lead the regulars. Tucker Ward scored four times on 3-4 batting with 2 RBI, Manzanares went 4-5 with three runs and two ribbies, and Bo Ward (2.2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 3 K) scored thrice after hitting 1-3 with two walks.
The Farmers managed just four basehits and denied the 'Cats a blowout shutout when leadoff man Travis Paskett (1-2, BB) trotted home in the bottom of the third after Rosa plunked Cheslock with the sacks packed. Ulibarri (1-3, R) was then credited with an infield single, despite third baseman Bo Ward's splendid dive-catch-throw sequence, after Paskett had drawn a base-on-balls, and both he and three-hole Alex Swanson then scored on a single to left by Teylon Pepper (1-2, HBP, RBI).
Pepper, however, had been the victim of the game's defensive highlight the inning before, when he was caught stealing by Pena at the dish after eight-hole Gus Solano had not only missed Rosa's offering on a hit-and-run gamble but was also called out for obstructing Pena's hustle forward to tag Pepper.
"We knew we could get our bats rolling; it was just a matter of getting our defense together," said Pena. "That's where we're going to win is our defense-if we keep it up, we're going to be pretty good."
The Bobcats are now 3-1 overall. That includes a wild 13-10 come-from-behind, season-opening win over the 4A Farmington C-team on Day 1 of the PV Invite and a 10-0 loss to 3A Shiprock on Day 2. The Bobcats will travel south to face the 3A Bloomfield JV this afternoon at 4 p.m.