TEXICO — With a senior-laden lineup and some depth in their pitching staff, the Tucumcari Rattlers are hoping to make a deep run in the Class 2A baseball playoffs this spring.
Fresh off a second-place finish earlier this month in the 2A state basketball tournament, the Rattlers improved to 7-0 in baseball with a 14-1 rout of Texico in Saturday’s finals of the Wolverines’ six-team tourney.
It was already the second time the District 3-2A rivals have matched up in a tourney final. Last weekend, the Rattlers won their own event by beating Texico 16-8.
“We’ve got to be productive,” Alarcon said of a potential state run. “We’ve just got to be able to take care of business, one game at a time.”
In other games Saturday, Floyd defeated Melrose 8-2 to take third place while the Portales junior varsity scored a 16-6 win over the Clovis C team for fifth.
The Rattlers sent a quick message on Saturday when catcher Angelo Montano led off the game with a home run. They added four-run frames in the second, third and fifth and cruised to a five-inning win, called by the 10-run rule, behind the pitching of senior left-hander Jakus Martinez.
Martinez, who led off the fifth with a home run, struck out seven and walked four, throwing 58 pitches.
“He throws the ball pretty well once he gets into a rhythm,” Alarcon said.
The Rattlers have made five trips to the state quarterfinals in the last 10 years, Alarcon noted, only to be eliminated in that round each time.
“The boys hit the ball well and ran the bases well today,” he said. “And our defense was solid.”
Texico (4-2) began to break down in the second and third innings, committing four errors as the Rattlers’ lead grew to 9-1.
“I don’t know how many runs they scored with two out,” Wolverines coach Richard Luscombe said. “I think their experience showed a little bit and our inexperience showed quite a bit.
“They’ve got a good group. They hit the ball well.”
Designated hitter Shawn Martinez went 3-for-4 with four RBIs for the Rattlers, while center fielder Jantzen Darnell was 3-for-3 with a walk, four stolen bases and four runs scored.
Floyd 8, Melrose 2 — Reyes Chavez drove in five runs with a double and a home run for the Broncos (3-3), while Caleb Martin pitched a complete-game five-hitter with no walks (two hit batsmen) and 11 strikeouts.
Floyd took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the first as Chavez doubled home two runs. He gave the Broncos a 7-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth with his home run off the Buffaloes’ Aaron Dearing.
Dearing singled and scored in the first for Melrose (1-5), and added an RBI single in the top of the fifth.