79.3 F
Thursday, September 28, 2023
HomeNewsBulldogs top Belen to win 2018 Artesia Invitational

Bulldogs top Belen to win 2018 Artesia Invitational

Related stories

Varsity Academy, Artesia Public Library empower public with self-defense class

On Saturday, September 23rd, local martial arts school Varsity...

See you downtown for Red Dirt Black Gold

By HAYLEY KLEIN As Artesia prepares to celebrate our 8th...

APS offering parent training workshops

ARTESIA -- The Artesia Public Schools (APS) is continuing...
The Bulldog baseball team poses with their Artesia Invitational championship trophy Saturday at Brainard Park. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

If the Bulldogs were looking to make a statement Saturday, consider it made in the form of a high liner caught by a leaping Kaden Chumbley at first base a split second after it left the bat of Belen’s Abran Armijo.

It was the sort of exclamation point that seemed only fitting for the boys in orange, who not only took the trophy in their home invitational tournament – their first home appearances of the 2018 season – but took it against one of the top teams in Class 5A, 5-4.

The Eagles came into the contest 10-2 to Artesia’s 5-3, their only losses suffered at the hands of baseball power Hope Christian, 14-12, and Uintah High School of Vernal, Utah, 11-6.

“I was really happy with our effort,” first-year head coach JJ Ortiz said Saturday. “Whenever we’re going up against a really good team like Belen, there’s obviously pressure, and I think there was also a little bit of pressure with us being in the championship game of our own tournament.

“We knew they were going to be a really tough team to play, but we were excited about the challenge and the players handled it well.”

After two-and-a-half scoreless innings of baseball Saturday before an enthusiastic crowd at Brainard Park, the ‘Dogs finally ended the drought in the bottom of the third.

Miguel Martinez led things off with a single, and an infield hit by JR Bustamante gave Artesia two on with one away. An over-the-shoulder line drive robbery by Eagle third-baseman Henry Jaramillo, however, made the out count two.

Cooper Flores was hit by a pitch to juice the bases for Taylor Null, who proceeded to send a liner into right to make it 2-0 Artesia. Flores would tack on a third run on a hit off the glove of Jaramillo by DH Aaron Natera.

That score would hold until the top of the fifth, when Belen – who previously hadn’t advanced a runner past second since the first inning – was able to put two unearned runs on the board on a fielder’s choice that saw second-baseman Flores tag one dodging runner but go with him to the ground to prevent a double play.

Artesia added what would turn out to be a vital pair of insurance runs in the home half, however, on a two-RBI double to the deep left-field corner by Natera.

That put the ‘Dogs up 5-2, but the Eagles threatened again in the sixth, plating two more on an error, and Artesia went scoreless in their half of the inning.

With JR Bustamante on the mound in relief of starter Trent Taylor, facing the meat of Belen’s order, the first two batters would go down swinging and a two-out single was negated by Chumbley’s acrobatic grab at first.

Cooper Flores attempts to complete the double play after taking a hard slide from Belen’s Thomas Wisneski during the Artesia Invite championship Saturday at Brainard Park. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

Taylor took the win on the hill with six hits over six innings, no earned runs, five strikeouts, and two walks. Thomas Wisneski was the losing pitcher with eight hits, five earned runs, and one K to his credit over five innings.

At the plate, the Bulldogs were led by Null and Natera, both 2-3 on the night, the former with two RBI and the latter with a double and three runs batted in.

“I was really pleased with Trent Taylor’s performance on the mound and JR coming in and finishing it off,” said Ortiz. “Overall, it was a great team effort.”

The ‘Dogs committed a trio of errors in the contest that contributed to all four of the Eagles’ runs, something Ortiz says the team will be working on as they continue to progress toward district.

“I keep telling the guys, ‘Hey, let’s not help these teams out, let’s make them earn it,’” said the coach. “We have to continue to get better every game, and we’re definitely making strides in that direction. But we have to fix these mistakes, because when we get down to district, we can’t be making mistakes like that.”

Saturday’s championship win upped the Bulldogs’ record to 6-3 on the year and came on the heels of a 12-2 run rule of Moriarty Friday.

That contest saw Artesia score 10 runs in its first three at-bats, with Natera logging a RBI double and Martinez a bases-loaded walk in the second, and Null womping a two-RBI triple in the third.

The Pintos briefly staved off the early exit in the top of five with a pair of runs, but a Null RBI single in the home half and a walk-off RBI double by Bustamante in the sixth sealed the deal.

Chumbley took the W in that contest with just two hits allowed and four strikeouts through four-and-one-third innings of work, and Null was 3-3 at the plate with a triple and three RBI.

“We had kind of a close one against Kirtland Central to start the tournament, and then we got all the nerves out of our system Friday night against Moriarty,” said Ortiz. “We just played calm.

“And tonight, we showed up and played really good against a tough Belen team that we’re most likely going to see again at the end of the year.”

Ortiz was happy overall with his team’s outing and is looking forward to another challenge this weekend as the Bulldogs travel to Rio Rancho for the Sal Puentes Memorial.

“I was really pleased with all the fan support, and all the teams and coaches that came down, they were really good sports,” said the coach. “I was just happy with the overall experience of our first home games, and we’ll be looking forward to making it better next year. But it’s always great to win your own tournament in front of your fans.

“We’re really excited now about the opportunity to go up to Rio Rancho and face the Rams in the opening round. I really want to see how our guys respond to the traveling, going up to Albuquerque, staying in a motel. But we’re still just looking to build on each game right now, so we’ll go up there and give them our best shot.”

Brienne Green
Daily Press Editor

Latest stories