By Leroy Chavez — Sports writer
RATON — After dropping a double header to Class AAAA Taos last week, the Tigers rebounded to down former district arch-rival St. Michaels 9-8 (now a Class AAAA school) Tuesday (March 11) at Gabriele Field.
“It’s always great getting a win and it’s always great beating St. Mikes,” said Tigers coach Mike Marez. “We’re improving game by game, it’ll be fun to see where this team ends up.”
The Horsemen took an early 2-0 lead on the top of the first, but Raton scored one run in the bottom of the first to stay close.
St. Mikes padded the lead with two more runs in the top of the third to go up 4-1 before Raton added 4 runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead for good and 5-4.
The Tigers pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the 5th and 6th innings to increase the lead to 9-4 heading into the final inning.
The Horsemen rallied in the top of the 7th, but fell short in the comeback effort by a score of 9-8.
“We’re still experimenting with different line-ups, giving everyone a chance to prove themselves,” said Marez. “The pitch count is still working its way up, we’re about 50- to 55 pitches (per pitcher) right now. We want to really strengthen our defensive middle (catcher, pitchers second base/shortstop and center field), so we’re a work in progress.”
Ethan Washburn started on the mound for the Tigers and pitched one inning giving up two runs on one hit, struck out one batter and issued 2 base-on-balls.
Cole Medina picked up the win by pitching 3 innings and surrendered 2 runs on 5 hits, striking out 3 batters and walked one Horseman.
Christian Granado relieved in the fourth inning and pitched two innings, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits, struck out 2 batters and walked one runner. Johnathan Cabriales closed the game, pitching one inning to seal the deal, allowing a single run on one hit and fanned 2 batters.
“We have been working in a lot of pitchers and we’ll have a good idea where we’re heading, as far as rotations, after this week,” noted Marez. “We need to get our pitch count to about the 75-80 pitch mark.”
Offensively, Ethan Washburn went one-for-three with one hit, scored two runs and batted in two runs; Johnathan Cabriales went one-for-three with two runs batted in, one hit and scored once; Dante Mileta went two-for-three with two hits and scored once; Brandon Luksich was one-for-two with one Run batted in (RBI) and scored once; Dillon Lemons was one-for-two with one hit and scored one run; Dakota Martinez went 1-for-1 with one hit, one RBI and scored once; and Martin Ortiz was two-for-three with two hits and scored two runs.
“We continue to improve from day-to-day and look forward to the St. Mikes tourney,” said Marez. “At the St. Mikes tourney, we’ll face a very tough field, but we’re looking forward to it.”
The Tigers will continue their tough pre-district season when they travel to St. Michaels to compete in the Jim Pearce Invitational baseball tourney that starts on Thursday (March 19) and runs through Saturday (March 21).
Raton will most likely be the only Class AAA school in the field that will include mostly Class AAAA schools.