With bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning, East Mountain’s Dominik Chavez drove in Ross Amestoy to lift the T’Wolves to a 6-5 victory April 26 over the visiting Sandia Prep Sundevils.
The victory capped a four-game winning streak and hoisted the Timberwolves into the Class 4A state tournament.
Behind starting pitcher Alejandro Taylor-Wright, East Mountain had built an early 3-0 lead before Sandia Prep forged ahead 5-3.
The T’Wolves tied it up at 5-5 in the bottom of the third and the score remained knotted through the high school regulation seven innings.
Twice the T’Wolves foiled potential Sandia Prep go-ahead runs by nailing two Sundevils out at the plate.
Amestoy—who relieved Taylor-Wright on the mound in the top of the sixth—led off the home-half of the ninth with a base hit.
Taylor-Wright followed with a double to right field.
The Sundevils intentionally walked Tommy Morgan to load the bases to bring up Chavez. “We knew at that point that their pitcher was probably getting a little tired, so I told [Chavez] to wait for a fastball and challenge him,” East Mountain head coach Dave Naylor said.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Chavez said about his at-bat. “But I knew I needed to put the bat on the ball, so I just threw my hands out there and let the bat do the work.”
Chavez—who had five hits in the game including two doubles—stroked a line drive down the left field line and Amestoy scampered home for the game-winning run.
“They did a good job,” Naylor said of his players. “We got timely outs, we got strikes when we really needed strikes, it was fun—good baseball by both teams.”
The win over Sandia Prep came two days after East Mountain swept a doubleheader at home over Santa Fe Indian School—giving the T’Wolves a four-game winning streak including three consecutive district victories to close out the season.
“This one [against Sandia Prep] was a little bigger but the two wins on Tuesday [against Santa Fe Indian School] were huge, too,” Naylor said. “If we’d split or didn’t win any of them it’s a totally different deal.”
Naylor was referring to the T’Wolves’ selection for a state tournament berth.
The NMAA released its seeding selection April 29. The T‘Wolves received the No. 11 seed—their highest seeding in three years—and will play their district-rival, the sixth-seeded Bernalillo Spartans, beginning May 4 in a best-of-three series.
East Mountain (10-9) split their season series with the Spartans (17-9) this year.
“The good news is we beat them and they beat us so we’re familiar with them,” Naylor said.
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.