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Hawks Rip Matadors

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Volcano Vista’s Vigil Pitches Shutout Against Top-Rated Team

The number of undefeated baseball teams remaining in Class 5A this season is exactly equal to the number of runs the Sandia Matadors scored Thursday:

Zero.

The state’s No. 1-rated team fell hard from the ranks of the unbeaten, thoroughly dominated by Volcano Vista’s Andre Vigil — but not necessarily in the manner one might imagine.

The junior, more renowned for his slugging prowess than his pitching, tossed a complete-game three-hitter at Sandia as the visiting Hawks romped 8-0.

Sandia lost for the first time after opening the season with 10 straight wins. La Cueva and Carlsbad also have one loss.

“This game proves to us that we can hang with these big dogs,” said Vigil. “We’re young, but we’re gonna get the job done.”

With Volcano Vista (8-4) having graduated its top three pitchers, Vigil (3-1) has been pressed into service on the mound. Thursday was his fourth, and certainly most effective, start.

“After La Cueva,” Vigil said, “we had a spark under us.”

Volcano Vista had two leads against La Cueva on Tuesday before losing 9-7. The Hawks manhandled Sandia.

“They hit the crap out of the ball,” Matadors coach John Gunther said, “and we didn’t. That’s it.”

Vigil allowed only four balls to even reach the outfield — two singles and two fly balls. Sandia didn’t advance a runner to third until the seventh.

“Going into this year, we were hoping we wouldn’t have to use him,” Hawks coach Kevin Andersh said, “but after he got on the mound, he really enjoyed it.”

Vigil induced 11 ground-ball outs. He walked two, hit one and struck out six. Twice, confused Sandia batters, clearly baffled by Vigil’s deliberate delivery, fanned by swinging at fastballs that were over their head.

“Our guys could not find the ball, until it was about on them,” Gunther said.

The Volcano Vista offense, conversely, did not struggle against the Matadors’ hard-throwing right-hander, Taylor Duree (1-1). Vigil’s RBI double keyed a three-run third, and he added a two-run double in a five-run sixth.

“We’ve faced a lot of guys with velocity,” Andersh said. “And so maybe that’s why we had a good day.”

The Matadors’ three hits were singles. They were held hitless after the third inning.

“I love big games,” Vigil said. “I love the challenge. I knew this team would be a good challenge.”
— This article appeared on page D4 of the Albuquerque Journal

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