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Sophomore pitcher JR Bustamante tosses to first for an out as the Rockets look on from their dugout during Game Two of the Bulldogs’ district double header Friday in Roswell. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

With the exception of two innings in Game One of a District 4-AAAAA double header Friday in Roswell, the Goddard Rockets by no means lit up The Launch Pad against the Bulldogs.

What it came down to for the boys in orange was hitting – or a lack thereof.

The ‘Dogs simply couldn’t get the key base hits they needed with runners on base, and the result was a pair of losses to the rival Rockets, 5-2 and 4-0.

Solo home runs in the third and fourth innings by Jharyss Granger and Tanner Harris comprised Artesia’s scoring in Friday’s opener, but both were enough to put the Bulldogs twice on top.

Granger’s drive over the fence in left made it 1-0 in the third, but the Rockets got back-to-back, two-out singles from Luke Fink and Justin Miller in the home half to tie the game.

Harris sent his tater to right, but again Goddard wasted no time knotting it, manufacturing their second run on a leadoff double by Ty Villareal, a sacrifice bunt, and a Logan Mathison base hit.

The Rockets then proceeded to take their first lead of the night in the bottom of the fifth, once again stringing together the hits the ‘Dogs couldn’t.

Miller singled and advanced to third on a Cameron Stevenson double, Villareal sac-bunted him home, and Stevenson crossed on a base knock to center.

Goddard tacked on an unearned insurance run in the sixth, with an error putting their leadoff batter aboard and a Fink single sending him home.

Starter Cody Fuentes took the loss in the contest with 10 hits and four earned runs through four-and-two-thirds innings. Sophomore Trent Taylor, on in relief in the mid-fifth, gave up two hits and no earned runs in one-and-one-third.

Granger and Harris were both 2-3 on the game with a homer and one RBI, and Harris also logged a double. Robert Fernandez and JR Bustamante posted the Bulldogs’ other two of six total hits.

With Bustamante on the hill in the nightcap, Goddard went down in order in their first trip to the plate but from there were able to once again create the runs necessary to pull ahead early.

Two in the bottom of the second were the result of a Stevenson single, two hit batsmen, a passed ball, and a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and in the third, Cal Villareal singled with one away, advanced to second and third on a stolen base and wild pitch respectively, and crossed on a Fink ground out.

Goddard’s only significant hit of the contest came in the fourth, an inside-the-park home run by the speedy Cole Wentland, who lofted the ball to deepest center field and legged out the rest.

Rocket senior pitcher Ethan Coombes, meanwhile, held Artesia to just two hits on the bout, both coming courtesy of Taylor Null. Null singled in both the first and sixth innings but was forced out and left standing.

Bustamante exited with the loss following the fifth with four hits, three earned runs, and three strikeouts. Granger finished out the game with no hits, no runs, and two Ks in one inning.

With the pair of losses, the Bulldogs drop to 7-11 on the season, 2-2 in district play. That places them in a tie for second with Roswell High (5-10, 2-2). Lovington (3-14, 0-4) has yet to win a district bout, and the Rockets are currently unbeaten (14-4, 4-0).

Artesia will return to Brainard Park Tuesday to host the Coyotes at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m. The ‘Dogs defeated Roswell 3-2 March 18 in the championship game of the Artesia Invitational.