After staking the Hope Christian Lady Huskies to a 7-point advantage in last week’s opening round of the Class 4A state softball tournament, East Mountain High scratched and clawed its way back into the game only to fall 9-7.
“We had our chances, we just didn’t get it done,” East Mountain head coach Brian VanDemark said after the May 10 contest at Cleveland High’s softball complex in Rio Rancho.
Trailing 7-0 in the fourth inning with two outs and two runners on base, East Mountain’s Delanie Nimmo launched a fly ball over the head of Hope’s center fielder for a two-RBI triple.
“Everybody was kinda down and that really lifted us up,” Nimmo said. “It was one of my best hits the whole season.”
RaeAnna VanDemark hit a two-RBI single, Kayla Johnson drilled an RBI base hit up the middle, and before the inning was over the Lady Timberwolves had trimmed the deficit to 7-5.
The No. 8 Lady Huskies immediately answered with a run in the top of the fifth inning.
In the bottom half of the frame, Nimmo drove in another run and Jaida Valenzuela’s double brought in Nimmo to pull East Mountain within a run.
Hope added one more run in sixth inning to round out the scoring.
The No. 9 Lady T’Wolves got runners aboard in both the sixth and seventh innings but couldn’t get them home.
“I think it was a great game, I’m proud of how we played,” RaeAnna VanDemark said. She also pitched the complete game for the T’Wolves.
Two Hope players live in the East Mountains, including Acacia McDonald, an eighth-grader from Sandia Park.
“It’s really exciting,” she said about playing in her first-ever state tournament, adding, “And it’s fun because I know quite a few of these girls.”
East Mountain finished with a 15-8-1 record.