ALAMOSA—It may have been “senior day” at OMS field Saturday, but it was a pair of juniors who lit up the diamond with huge efforts at the plate that helped the Mean Moose sweep a double header over Monte Vista in six-inning, 10-run rule conference wins, 11-1 , 13-3.
First tilt winning pitcher Skyler Timmins helped his own cause with back-to-back homeruns and may have gotten the hat trick if not intentionally walked by the Pirates in the next frame. Junior catcher Matt Benavidez had struggled some with the bat earlier in the season, but his 4-for-4 hitting with two doubles in the nightcap was AHS’s best of the day.
Alamosa moved to 13-6 on the year and 6-2 in Intermountain League action to qualify for post-season play and should find out by Wednesday where they’re headed on Saturday. Third ranked Bayfield (Max-Preps), 17-2 and 8-0 IML, and Centauri (7-10, 3-5 ) will also earn district seeds. The youthful Monte Vista Pirates ended the season 5-13, 1-7 .
Not only did the 11 Maroon seniors celebrate their last home games with victories, they put team manager Isaac Garner on the field to throw out the ceremonial first-pitch. He was later presented with an autographed baseball that probably ended up in his motorized wheelchair. More emotion was found in the second game of the twin bill when Alamosa junior Bailey Garcia took the hill against his former Monte Vista teammates. He proceeded to strike out 10, walk only three and scatter three hits for two earned runs.
“It felt great to see all my old teammates and to beat them,” Garcia said, noting that his third inning struggles on the mound continued, but that he was able to rebound in time. He gave up back-to-back walks to open the top of the third and the Pirates capitalized with their three runs, including two RBIs on a Dillon Martinez double.
Timmins, who fanned 11 Monte batters and walked none, scattered five hits and gave up just the one earned run in Saturday’s 11-1 decision. His leadoff homer in the third and a two RBI rip to dead centerfield in the fourth gave the Moose a 9-1 cushion.
“We did a lot of hitting this week in practice,” Timmins said, “making a lot of contact with the ball.”
In the second game, Benavidez led off twice with doubles and a third time with a single.
“My teammates and coaches have been helping me a lot with my batting stance,” said Benavidez, who usually hits out of the ninth spot. “I know I’ve got good hitters following me so it’s helped me gain more confidence.”
Benavidez went 4-for-5 on the day, while senior Jake Heaton was 5-for-8 with three stolen bases and two RBI’s . Heaton’s .532 batting average and .586 OB percent rank fourth and fifth respectively in the IML.
Fellow senior Tyler Cerny (.418 OB percent), who has been walked a league-leading 16 times this season, made the Pirates pay with a team-high four stolen bases, four runs and a pair of RBIs. Zach Meyer and Timmins each contributed three hits on the day.
Vin Aloia’s three hits led the Pirates on Saturday, only Mitch Vanderpool knocking two hits against the stalwart Moose pitching.
Alamosa opened the scoring when Cerny walked, stole second and third, and scored on Timmins’ sac fly to right field. The Moose added three runs in the second on a Heaton single, three Pirate errors and several wild pitches and passed balls.
Monte’s only run came in the top of the third on Vanderpool’s lead off single, scoring on Jeff Cooper’s double.
The Maroons answered with Timmins first round-tripper, and added four runs in the fourth after Kurt Schiffer led off with a single and Cerny reached on an error. Meyer followed with an RBI double to right-center, followed by Timmins’ second rocket.
Junior Kevin Gutierrez led off the fifth with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Heaton’s infield base hit. Meyer’s leadoff triple in the sixth lead to the game-ending run after Timmins was intentionally walked and Meyer stole home with a sweeping slide after a passed ball.
Alamosa quickly built a 4-0 lead in the first frame of the second game on singles by Heaton, Meyer and junior first baseman Kolby Brubacher , who suffered a severe leg injury on a routine play in the top of the fourth. Benavidez doubled to open the third, followed by a textbook bunt by Heaton, and courtesy runner Kole Kelley scored on Meyer’s sac fly to center.
The Moose held only a 5-3 lead after three complete, but erupted for five runs on four hits in the bottom of the fourth. Benavidez’ lead off single, was followed by Heaton’s RBI single, Cerny being hit by a pitch, a Meyer sac fly to center and Timmins RBI base hit. Garcia would walk and score on Dalton Carleo’s two-bagger to deep centerfield, notching three RBIs. An insurance run was added in the fifth after a Benavidez leadoff double and a Cerny single.
Garcia opened the sixth with his second triple of the day and scored on a wild pitch. With two outs, freshman Clayton Brubacher reached on an error and scored on Benavidez’ game-ending single.
“We hit the ball well today against some slow velocity pitching,” AHS coach Jason Romero said. “We’re trying to bunt more and work on ‘small ball’.” He also complimented his pitchers for a stellar effort.
Monte coach Justin Romero said Saturday’s games were typical for his young ball club this season. The Pirates put only three seniors on the field and Romero said some of the juniors missed last season due to injuries.
“We’ve got plenty of ability,” he said, “but we seem to buckle under pressure. We’re a pretty young team that needs to learn how to win again and gain confidence.”