Published: 2:38 pm, Wed. Apr. 19th, 2017Updated: 2:37 pm
The Bulldog baseball team got their bats cracking and an abbreviated win over Roswell High in Game One of a District 4-AAAAA double header Tuesday at Brainard Park, 13-3, then followed with a one-hit, 5-1 victory over the Coyotes in the nightcap.
The pair of wins improves the ‘Dogs’ season record to 9-11 and their district mark to 4-2, placing them in second behind top seed Goddard.
The Artesia boys fell behind Roswell early in Tuesday’s opener at sunny Brainard, as the Coyotes strung together a trio of hits, including a RBI triple by Ty Jordan, to take a 3-0 lead out of the top of the first.
It took the boys in orange a few innings to find their rhythm at the plate, but the ‘Dogs tied things up in the bottom of the third on a Taylor Null single, a Robert Fernandez RBI ground out, and a base hit by Trent Taylor, then took the lead, 4-3, in the fourth on a Null swat to center.
With the defense, behind starting senior pitcher Jharyss Granger, settling down following Roswell’s first at-bat, the Coyotes were unable to move a runner past second for the remainder of the contest.
Artesia, meanwhile, made it 7-3 in the fifth on a passed ball, a Kaden Chumbley squeeze bunt, and a Cody Fuentes double, then broke the game open in the bottom of six.
Fernandez got things started with a leadoff double and scored on a JR Bustamante base hit. Miguel Martinez crossed on a passed ball, Jacob Orona and Bustamante rounded on a two-RBI double by Fuentes, and Null posted a walk-off, two-RBI single to secure the run rule, 13-3.
“We got off to a kind of rocky start in that first game, but we hung in there and finally tied it up,” head coach Lee Johnson said today. “Then we started hitting the ball.
“They gave us a few extra outs in the fifth, sixth and seventh, so we took advantage of it, and that’s what you’ve gotta do when you have opportunities like that. We made the best of it and ended the game in the sixth, and we were real pleased with that. After those first couple of innings, we played good defense.”
Granger picked up the six-inning win with four hits, two earned runs, five strikeouts and one walk to his credit, while, at the plate, Fuentes was 4-5 with two doubles and three RBI, Null 3-4 with four runs batted in, Taylor 2-3 with one RBI, and Fernandez 2-4 with a double and one run batted in.
The Bulldogs didn’t knock the ball around quite as efficiently in Game Two but got hits at key junctures to pull off the 5-1 win.
Roswell again drew first blood, scoring in the top of three on a RBI ground out, but Artesia wasted no time responding, as Null led off with a triple in the home half, then crossed on a ground ball by Granger.
The deadlock would remain through four-and-a-half before the ‘Dogs were able to grab the lead in the fifth on an Orona base hit, and Artesia tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth on consecutive dingers by Granger, Fernandez and Taylor.
Taylor, meanwhile, posted a one-hitter on the hill through seven complete innings, allowing one earned run, walking four, and striking out five. The sophomore was also 2-4 at the plate with one RBI.
“We just hung in there and got the win in the second game,” Johnson said. “We played real good defense, got good pitching, and then some timely hits.
“It wasn’t 13 runs, but it was enough runs to win, especially if you limit your opponent to one run. I was real pleased with our defense and that we were able to hit the ball around a little bit and score a few more runs.”
The ‘Dogs will now prepare to head to Lovington Friday for a 5 and 7 p.m. rematch with the Wildcats. Artesia topped the boys in blue 3-2 and 7-1 April 11 at Brainard Park.
“We keep hitting a bunch in practice, and it’s paying off,” said Johnson. “You’ve just gotta keep working on all facets of the game, and hopefully, it’ll transfer into the game, and that’s what happened yesterday. So we’re looking forward to going to Lovington on Friday and hopefully coming away with a couple of wins there.
“We’re just looking to maintain our intensity and not let down in any inning, just get after them and hopefully get good pitching. And we plan on playing good defense again, too. We had another good crowd last night, even with the softball games going on, and we appreciate that. I know people get excited to be able to watch kids compete, and our community does a great job of supporting these kids.”