QCS Senior Writer
It was the kind of fairy tale ending that later becomes a Hollywood movie.
The only problem was that for the Tucumcari Rattlers baseball team, the other team in the story enjoyed the ending.
It was the bottom of the seventh inning, the Rattlers — 11-13, and 6-3 in league play — were leading 1-0 over the Estancia Bears with one out and the bottom of the lineup at bat.
Two runners were on base from a hit and a walk, when the No. 9 batter
stepped to the plate.
Senior Saul Moriel was on the mound Thursday in Estancia for the Rattlers.
Moriel had closed out the previous two innings with 15 pitches and the defense had played lights out thus far, said Tony Alarcon, Rattlers head coach.
The last batter in the line up hit a the ball to left center field and the runners took off knowing that any chance to win would come from them beating the throw to home plate. That is how the Rattlers’ ninth straight state baseball tournament appearance would end — with a 2-1 loss.
“You want to play the best game you can at the end of the year,” Alarcon said. “That is exactly what the Rattlers did. There was just no way to combat fate.”
Moriel said he knew the game was over once he saw the ball sailing through the air. He said the team couldn’t have played a better game.
“We’ve had some ups and downs this season,” Moriel said. “That last game was our best defensive game of the season.”
Alarcon said the Rattlers played great defense, but just couldn’t capitalize on offense. He said the team played with character and while the game didn’t have the outcome the Rattlers wanted, he was proud of their season overall.
Moriel, who had 118 strikeouts this season, is one of five seniors the team will lose to graduation.
Fellow senior, first baseman Chris Sandoval, said the team had been plagued with errors throughout the season. He said in the past few games, especially the last game, the team had come together and finished the season strong.
Seniors graduating from the team are Moriel, Sandoval, Gabriel Molinas, Javier Villanueva and Kevin Blea.