For the second-consecutive year, the East Mountain Timberwolves made it to the Class 4A state tournament only to come up short in the first round.
The 11th-seeded T’Wolves lost 11-1 and 4-0 to the No. 6 Bernalillo Spartans in the best-two-of-three series May 4 and 5 at the Spartans home field in Bernalillo.
“It is what it is,” East Mountain head coach Dave Naylor said. “They have a better team than we do this year and hats off to them, they outplayed us both games.”
In the May 5 finale, the T’Wolves had their share of opportunities—getting runners aboard in several innings—but they couldn’t capitalize.
“When you can’t push them across it’s hard to get any momentum,” Naylor said, adding, “We hit the ball pretty well, we just hit it right at them.”
Meanwhile, the Spartans scored a pair of runs in the third inning and added single runs in the fifth and sixth.
Senior Alejandro Taylor-Wright started on the mound for the T’Wolves and gave up 2 runs. He was replaced in the fifth inning by Tommy Morgan.
“It was just a couple of little things here and there that allowed [Bernalillo] to plate some runs and we just couldn’t respond,” Naylor said.
In the first game the day before, the Spartans scored 5 runs in the second inning.
Taylor-Wright scored East Mountain’s only run of the series in the top of the fourth when he drew a walk and went to second on Morgan’s base hit.
The Spartans pitcher then tried to pick off Taylor-Wright but the throw went into center field. Taylor-Wright went all the way home on the error.
The Spartans answered with 6 runs in the bottom of the frame, and after the T’Wolves were held scoreless in the top of the fifth, the game ended on the 10-run mercy rule.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes,” Naylor said about the series opener. “It seemed like we were a little out of sync and we didn’t do a whole lot at the plate, either.”
The coach noted that the team built some momentum off last year so his returning players will learn from this experience.
“I think the future looks good for us,” Naylor said. “We’ve got a good crew coming back, going back down to [Class] 3A should help us, and I’m looking forward to seeing the next round of kids and seeing what they can do.”
East Mountain finished with a 10-11 overall record, 4-2 in district.