Hot bats combined with a new small-ball approach helped Estancia High School’s baseball team pick up a doubleheader sweep in its March 15 season opener over the visiting Hatch Valley Bears.
It was the hometown red-and-white Bears mauling the visiting dressed-in-black Bears 12-2 in the first game and 9-6 in the nightcap.
“I’m happy with the way we played,” Estancia’s new head coach Hamilton Doyle said, adding, “We laid down a pretty good foundation today.”
Estancia’s Cruz Moreno got the offense started in the first game with a 2-RBI double.
Four batters later, Moises Anaya blasted the ball up into the driving wind for a 2-run home run to help fuel an 8-run first inning.
“It felt good,” Anaya said about his first home run of the season. “I just gotta keep hitting.”
Anaya also started on the mound for the Bears and pitched three scoreless innings before being relieved by Zach Abeita.
Estancia added another run in the second inning and 3 runs in the third.
Class 4A Hatch, who agreed to play on short notice after originally-scheduled Mesa Vista cancelled, scored its only runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
“This is only our fourth day with the whole team,” Doyle said, “We’re just getting to know each other and learning the different style.”
The different style Doyle is bringing to the Bears’ camp is a small-ball approach with a lot of bunting and hit-and-run tactics.
“We’ve been working on bunting a lot in practice,” he said. “I think in the first game and the first three innings of the second game we executed pretty good.”
Estancia’s offense started hot again in the second game as Drayton Oberg’s triple helped spark a 4-run first inning.
The Bears plated 3 more runs in the second inning, 1 run in the fourth and another in the fifth.
Moreno started on the mound and was relieved by Oberg in the fourth inning, with Jake Zamora coming in to close out the pitching duties in fifth.
Doyle said he wanted to keep the total pitches thrown by each pitcher relatively low because they haven’t pitched since last season and are “a little rusty.”
Moreno acknowledged after the game that his arm felt a little tight.
Doyle, who was an assistant at East Mountain in 2012, coached at Valencia High School in 2014 as well as high schools in North Carolina and Virginia before taking the reins at Estancia.
He noted that the season is just getting started but he hopes to keep the Bears going as a force in Class 3A baseball.
“By mid-season we should be rolling pretty good,” Doyle said.
Estancia hosted East Mountain March 20.