Small ball helps Estancia win state baseball opener

Joseph Newsom at the plate. Photo by G. Demarest.

After making an offensive adjustment, Estancia High’s No. 2 baseball team stomped the No. 15 Santa Fe Prep Blue Griffins 14-1 in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament May 2 at the Bears home field.

Santa Fe Prep scored a run in the top of the first inning, but that’s all the Griffins got off Estancia starting pitcher Cruz Moreno.

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The Griffins’ left-handed starter on the mound was effective early with off-speed pitches that held the Bears to a single run in the bottom of the first, 2 in the second and no runs in the third.

With a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth, Estancia head coach Hamilton Doyle decided to shift offensive gears by going to a small-ball approach.

Josh Thomas, Moises Anaya, and Joseph Newsom laid down three consecutive bunts, catching the Griffins on their heels.

Everybody was way out in front of the ball [at the plate] so it was like, ‘OK, let’s see if we can play small ball,’” Doyle said.

The Griffins responded by moving their defense in and the Bears countered with back-to-back base hits by Gabe Chavez and Zach Abeita.

Drayton Oberg followed with a home run over the right field fence and Reyes Herrera drilled a line drive that bounced past the Griffins’ centerfielder and allowed him to come all the way around.

Before the inning was over, Estancia plated 11 runs.

Moreno struck out the side in the top of the fifth to end the game on the mercy rule.

Defensively I think we played pretty good, it was just a matter of getting the sticks going and the small ball stimulated everything and put the game in our favor,” Doyle said.

With the win, Estancia (23-2) advances to the state quarterfinals to face the No. 10 Tucumcari Rattlers (9-10) tonight at 7 p.m. at Rio Rancho’s Cleveland High School. For photos of this game go to edgewood.news.

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