East Mountain hosted the Estancia Bears on May 15 for the first time in more than two years and both teams showcased strong pitching.
But one big inning at the plate—call it one big swing of the bat—helped lift the Timberwolves to a 4-2 victory.
East Mountain broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the second inning, buoyed by senior Reed Davis’ two-run home run.
“I didn’t really think it was going out when I first hit it,” Davis said about his blast over the fence. “I thought it was just a normal hit until I heard everyone screaming, and then I was like, ‘Dang! I really just did that.’”
Davis started on the mound for East Mountain and went three innings before being replaced by Caleb Martin. Davis gave up a run and struck out six Estancia batters. Martin went four innings and gave up a run while fanning four. The two faced off against Estancia senior pitcher Jacob Zamora who went the distance for the Bears and fanned 12 T’Wolves.
“Jake pitched really well,” Estancia head coach Randy Archibeque said. “His velocity stayed up, he kept ‘em down to four, so he did what a pitcher should do—he’s just an all-around player.”
“Zamora pitched really well for them, he was challenging up in the zone and we just couldn’t make an adjustment offensively,” East Mountain head coach Ray Demarest said. “But thankfully we had that big inning, and the big home run was all that we needed.”
The Bears got on the board in the top of the first inning by capitalizing on a couple of East Mountain miscues. Eladio Bernal reached on a grounder that East Mountain shortstop Cole Phillips couldn’t come up with. With two outs, Clayton Wetterman got aboard when his ground ball got past Jake McFall and scooted into the outfield, sending Bernal to third. An errant throw back into the infield allowed Bernal to score the Bears’ first run.
East Mountain responded in the home half of the first frame when Garrett Hitchcock’s fly ball to shallow center field drove in Deshawn Torrez-Griego to knot the score at 1-1.
The T’Wolves pushed ahead in the second inning when Cooper Davis got hit by a pitch to lead off, and then stole second base. McFall drove in Davis with an RBI double to deep center field.
Two batters later, Reed Davis parked a two-run tank on La Madera Road for the 4-1 lead.
“We had a foul ball there, and if our left fielder woulda caught it, that kid, he hit the home run on the next pitch,” Archibeque said about Davis’ home run at-bat. “So you know, I mean, it’s just a freak thing, but they’re a good team.”
Estancia scored its second run in the top of the fifth when Xavier Jaramillo got hit by a pitch, stole second, and then came home on Bernal’s base hit up the middle.
It was the first win over Estancia for Demarest, who played for East Mountain from 2009-2012 when the T’Wolves and the Bears were district rivals.
“I played against Lawrence Chavez and Destry Oberg, and it’d be cool if those guys were still around and they were coaching, that’d be a cool story,” Demarest said. “But I still feel, ya know, deep down that there’s a rivalry there, not as big as it used to be, but it still feels like a rivalry.”
It was the first matchup between the two teams since the opening of the 2019 baseball season.
It was also the first time back in quite a while for a pair of Estancia players, Zamora and Bernal, who played in East Mountain Little League at the same complex.
“Coming back here is good, I mean, I played at this field a bunch, I played on every field here,” Bernal said. “It’s good to be back, it’s a little weird, it’s been a while, but it’s good.”
“It’s pretty cool being back here, I like it, I still kinda feel at home here cuz I played here so much,” Zamora said, adding, “I didn’t know if I’d be the same as I was two years ago since taking off that much time from baseball, I figured I’d be a little rusty, but I’m happy that I’m back—this is my sport, I’m just excited we’re getting to play this year.”
Archibeque said the loss fell squarely on his shoulders.
“Anytime we lose, I’ll man up to it. If you win, the kids did great. If you lose, it’s on the coach,” Archibeque said. “But you know, we’ve got a good little squad. I think we’re gonna be good.”
Demarest said it was good to win a close, low-scoring game.
“Other than that first inning, it was a good defensive outing and great pitching performances by Reed and Caleb,” Demarest said, adding, “There was good pitching performances on both teams, the pitchers did their jobs, we got a bunch of ground ball outs and that’s how you win a baseball game.”