Gateway Christian had an inauspicious beginning to the 2014 campaign, losing four of its first eight games to head into April as a .500 team.
The top-seeded Warriors concluded their season in fine fashion, however, as they pummeled No. 3 Questa 10-3 in Thursday’s Class 1A State Championship game at Isotopes Park. It was the 15th consecutive victory for Gateway Christian (18-4), which won its first state title since the program captured three straight blue trophies from 2006 to 2008.
“The beginning of the year we struggled a little bit,” said Warriors coach Rick Rapp. “We made a bunch of errors in two tournaments and we played a tougher schedule – played some 2A schools. But they just believed in themselves, worked hard and I’m just so proud of our senior leadership.”
The Warriors jumped all over Questa from the outset, when senior second baseman Jacob Moody hit a triple on the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the first inning. It would only get worse from there for the Wildcats (16-6).
“That’s what set the tone for the whole game,” said Gateway Christian starting pitcher Alex King, who held Questa to six hits over seven innings.
Singles from Andrew Meeks and Chris Bonham would follow, giving the Warriors a 2-0 edge before King added an RBI to give his team a 3-0 lead after one stanza. Gateway Christian plated two more runs in the second inning, and Questa was never able to mount a significant threat.
“That kid (Questa starter Marcus Chavez) pitched seven innings yesterday for them,” Rapp said. “I know he’s a good pitcher, but that’s tough for anybody to do. We just wanted to come out and be aggressive.”
The Wildcats didn’t do themselves any favors in the field, either, as five errors aided Mountainview Christian’s cause. Particularly damaging was an errant toss by shortstop Zack Gallegos with the bases loaded in the fourth inning; all three base runners would score as a result to give the Warriors an 8-1 lead and essentially put the game on ice.
“They were in our way; we had to beat them,” King said. “We played as a team, and we played hard.”
CLASS 2A: No. 13 Dexter (12-17) knocked off eighth-seeded Lordsburg 6-5 on Thursday in the semifinals.
The Demons will play No. 2 Cobre (23-5), a 9-2 winner over NMMI, in today’s championship game at 1 p.m. at Isotopes Park.