There were fans in the bleachers, two teams battling it out on the diamond and a pair of umpires dressed in black stationed on the field. Moriarty High School’s April 10 season opener looked like any other opening day—except for the face coverings.

All the players, coaches, umpires and nearly every fan were in full compliance with the state’s—and the New Mexico Activities Association’s—Covid-safe mask-wearing requirement.

“You know, I’ll take all the restrictions and everything just to be out here,” Moriarty head coach Denny Young said at the beginning of the game.

The score was tied for the first two innings as the Pintos started the spring campaign with some clutch hitting.

But then the visiting Hope Christian Huskies heated up with seven runs in the third inning and added a few more runs later in the game to beat Moriarty 16-4.

East Mountain resident Evan Bagon’s two out, two-RBI double in the top of the first inning gave Hope Christian an early 2-0 advantage.

With two outs in the home half of the frame, Moriarty seniors Bryan Wright and Nathan Lipke reached base with back-to-back singles. Fellow senior Shea Penny drove in Wright with a base hit to shallow center and freshman Zach Gallegos drove in Lipke to knot the score at 2-2.

In the third inning, East Mountain resident Jake Weber, who also pitched a couple of frames for the Huskies, helped fuel Hope’s seven-run surge to put the visitors up 9-2.

Hope added three runs in the fourth inning and four more in the sixth to end the game on the 10-run mercy rule.

Both Chance Rector and Amare Gonzales scored during Moriarty’s two-run fifth.

Three days after the loss to Hope Christian, Moriarty played its second game of the season on the road at Bernalillo.

Bernalillo scored a run in the third inning and added two more in the fifth.

The Pintos put several runners on base but could not get them home until Rector’s two-RBI triple in the seventh erased the 3-0 deficit. But that was all the scoring for the Pintos in the 3-2 loss. Moriarty stranded nine runners on base during the game.

“We won everywhere but the place it matters most, the scoreboard,” Young said via a text.