LA JARA—A five run fifth inning in the first game helped the Centauri Falcons take a 5-3 win over the Alamosa Mean Moose in the Intermountain League opener on Monday afternoon at Centauri High School.
The Mean Moose and Falcons then engaged in a back-and-forth affair that saw both teams have six-run innings but a three-run top of the seventh inning helped them salvage a 12-9 win and a split with the Falcons.
The two teams battled in a rare Monday doubleheader because game officials decided to postpone the games that were originally scheduled for Saturday morning, because of field conditions.
In the first game on Monday, Moose starting pitcher John Lujan and Falcon pitcher Nate Anderson locked up in a pitcher's dual through the first two innings.
Alamosa broke through first as former Falcon, senior Mason Barrows drew a walk and worked his way around the bases and scored on a line drive single to center field by sophomore catcher Kolten Hillis.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Alamosa scored another run when sophomore Jose Manriquez tripled on a line drive to right field. He then scored after a sacrifice fly by Hillis to make the score 2-0.
With a new pitcher, junior Chance Strand, on the mound, the Falcons had an explosive fifth inning.
It started when Darrin Rodriguez drew a walk. He scored two batters later when Martin Garcia doubled to left field.
With one out, Brandon Buhr drew a walk before Tristen Crowther doubled to left field for two RBI to gain a 3-2 lead.
The lead continued to grow as another walk, this time Zach Martin was the patient one, set up a single by Diego Fernandez to score Crowther from second base.
Sophomore Caden Alonzo was put into the game to try and stop the bleeding. He got the second out of the inning as he struck out Alero Barr before he threw a wild pitch that allowed Martin to scamper across the plate.
A scoreless sixth inning set up the Falcons for one more defensive stand. Alamosa decided to make it interesting as Barrows, who singled on a single to the shortstop, used the advantages of wild pitches to move around the bases for a run. Anderson was able to close out the game for the win and start off with an IML win.
Alamosa outhit Centauri in the game with six hits as Hillis was 2-of-3, Tyler Zimmerman was 1-of-1 with a walk, Ben Wuckert was 1-of-3, Barrows was 1-of-2 as was Manriquez.
Strand was tabbed with the loss as he allowed three hits and all five of the runs with three walks.
Lujan, who worked 3.2 innings had six walks and four strikeouts in the game. Alonzo pitched 1.2 innings and had three strikeouts.
The Falcons, who only tallied three hits, were led by Crowther, who was 1-of-1 at the plate, and Fernandez was 1-1.
Anderson was the winning pitcher as he tossed a complete game and gave up four walks but had 10 strikeouts.
In the second game, Tristten Crowther was the starting pitcher for the Falcons and Alamosa opened up with a run as Zimmerman singled and advanced to third before a double scored him.
In the bottom half of the inning, Centauri jumped on Alonzo, who started on the mound for the Mean Moose, with Garcia singling before Buhr drew a walk and both runners came across to score. Crowther smashed home the first run before Buhr stole home.
Neither team scored in the second inning but Alamosa rallied for six runs in the top of the third inning including a RBI triple from Zimmerman, a RBI double from Barrows and Alonzo before senior Nick McWilliams singled home a run and Kason Smith and McWilliams each stole home.
Just when it seemed like Alamosa was going to be able to hold on to the 7-2 lead, Centauri roared back for a 6-run inning of their own in the bottom of the fourth inning as Barr singled Martin.Rodriguez then doubled to left field for a run.
Alamosa Head Coach Jason Romero then made a pitching change as he put Gage Calder in to try and stop the bleeding. He immediately got an out but a run came across and scored. A double from Buhr tied the game at seven before Crowther singled.
Alamosa quickly came back and tied the game at eight as McWilliams drove in Strand. Hillis then earned another RBI as he singled to third base to score McWilliams.
A Buhr double in the bottom of the sixth tied the game at nine as Garcia scored from first base.
With Garcia pitching, two hit by pitches put Calder and Hillis on the base paths to set up a RBI single from Barrows before Jaime Brooks had a single to score Hillis.
Sophomore Jared Carson was plunked by a pitch to load the bases before Strand hit a RBI double to score Barrows. Alamosa was charged with their second out of the inning when Alonzo, who was running for Brooks, was thrown out at the plate.
Strand then went to the circle and faced four batters to get the save. He gave up a single to Martin to start the inning but had two strikeouts and a ground out to finish off the win.
Alamosa was led offensively, by Barrows, who was 3-of-5 at the plate as the Mean Moose had 15 hits.
Alonzo pitched 3.1 innings and surrendered six of the nine runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out two.
Calder, who was the winning pitcher, gave up three runs on four hits and one walk with two strikeouts as well.
Centauri tallied 13 hits on the day with Buhr being 3-of-3 at the plate with a walk included.
Crowther pitched two innings and surrendered four runs on six hits while striking out three while Martin gave up five runs on six hits and six strikeouts. Garcia was tabbed with the loss as he surrendered three runs on three hits.