No single player had a monster day for La Cueva in Saturday’s District 2-5A softball doubleheader against visiting Sandia. No stars were needed.
Most of the Bears chipped in at one key moment or another, and La Cueva earned a critical sweep by scores of 5-3 and 2-1. The Bears (9-12, 5-1) moved a game ahead of the Matadors (11-10, 4-2) in the district standings and hold the tiebreaker by virtue of winning the head-to-head series 2-1.
“We needed it,” La Cueva senior first baseman Kaylee Bachmann said. “We had some negativity when we lost (a 5-4 decision to the Matadors) earlier in the season, but it’s a whole new ballgame now.”
Bears coach Ashley Carter was all smiles after the sweep.
“We made a pact before the first game to leave it all on the field,” Carter said. “That’s what happened. So many people stepped up at different times, I can’t even tell you.”
Bachmann provided arguably the biggest hit of the day in Game 1. After Sandia scored two runs in the top of the sixth to forge a 3-3 tie, Bachmann blasted a two-run homer to left-center to give her team the lead.
Both games were played with a stiff wind blowing out to left field, but the conditions had little to do with Bachmann’s shot.
“That felt so good,” she said. “I’d been waiting for that one for quite a while, and it had that perfect feeling when I hit it. I was like, ‘That is so gone.’ ”
Taylor Jones also hit a two-run homer for the Bears in the opener, while Sandia pitcher Aubrey Machac hit a solo shot.
Pitching and defense played larger roles in Game 2, and the Bears got an impressive outing from an unexpected source. Freshman Stephanie Fossness, making her first varsity start, limited Sandia to one run on seven hits in six innings. The left-hander walked two and struck out four.
“She’d been pitching with the JV to get some experience,” Carter said. “But I wanted to give Sandia a different look and she really came through.”
La Cueva took a 1-0 lead in the first when Mariah Lucero lined an RBI double off the top of the left-field fence. Sandia answered in the top of the second, when Brittany Wolfe fisted a two-out single just over the infield to drive home Machac.
The Bears regained the lead when Courtney Wolf singled and stole second base in the top of the third. She scored on a two-out single by Lucero to make the score 2-1.
Sandia loaded the bases on three singles in the fourth, but Fossness got Jocelyn Hernandez to ground out to escape the jam.