Is Keith Alvarado an outstanding starting pitcher who moonlights as a terrific defensive lineman?
Or is it actually the other way around?
It’s an interesting hybrid, to be sure, the athlete who does both of those things well. Alvarado, an Eldorado High School sophomore, is one of them.
And on Tuesday, the sophomore right-hander threw a five-hit shutout as the Eagles, seeded No. 4 in the Albuquerque Metro Championships, beat No. 5 Cleveland.
The 3-0 victory catapults Eldorado (6-2) into Thursday’s 4 p.m. semifinals at No. 1 Rio Rancho, one of two teams to have beaten the Eagles this season. The Rams won 14-8 in Eldorado’s season opener.
“I’ve got faith in Keith,” Eldorado coach Reid Figiel said. “He’s been our workhorse. We’re gonna ride him all year.”
Alvarado (2-0) worked out of bases-loaded jams in each of the first two innings against the Storm, which continues to be without shortstop Treston Shallenberger, possibly its best offensive player, for several more weeks.
Alvarado induced E.J. Rendon to ground out to first base to end the top of the first after a hit, an error and a walk loaded the bases.
Robert Healy ripped a line drive to center for Cleveland in the second inning, again with the bases loaded. But center fielder Cody Brown hardly had to move to snare the liner, which was the hardest-hit ball Alvarado surrendered.
Cleveland (4-4) had one final scoring chance, in the fifth, after Damien Roddy and Healy singled.
With one out, Alvarado got Jaren Jackson to ground out. Then, with runners at second and third and two out, Alvarado went after Storm starter Jack Murano and struck him out looking with a fastball on the outside corner.
“After the first two innings, my nerves settled down,” said Alvarado. “I felt more comfortable.”
Murano, a University of New Mexico baseball signee, was making his season debut Tuesday. He pitched five innings, giving up one earned run and striking out six.
The game was scoreless into the fourth, when Eldorado scored two runs.
The Eagles loaded the bases on a single by Cade Malone, a double by Calen Callow and a walk to Brown.
Brandon Petrino lined a ground ball to second, which was misplayed and booted into right field. Two runs scored on the play. Zack Hofman added an RBI single in the sixth for Eldorado against Storm reliever Roy Jennings.
Looking ahead to Rio Rancho, the Eagles hope the rematch will turn out better for them. When the two met the first time, Rio Rancho had already played five games at a tournament in El Paso.
“We’re hungry for that game,” Figiel said. “The kids know we’ve got a good ballclub.”
No. 7 VOLCANO VISTA 3, No. 2 SANDIA 0: At Sandia, Ryan Curran threw 62/3 innings of six-hit ball for the Hawks (5-3) as they handed the Matadors (6-1) their first loss. Sandia is the final 6A team to lose a game this season.
When Curran reched his pitch limit, Darius Garcia came in to record the final out for Volcano Vista.
Zion Springer hit a two-run single in the third inning, and Hayden Peacock drove in a run with a fifth-inning single.
That was more than enough for Curran (2-1), who didn’t allow a runner to reach third base.
The Hawks are at La Cueva at 4 p.m. Thursday in the other semifinal.
No. 1 RIO RANCHO 3, No. 8 ST. PIUS 2: At Rio Rancho, the Rams (10-3) advanced with a come-from-behind victory over the Sartans.
Rio Rancho was trailing 2-0 in the fifth when Clayton Kempski and Ethan Silcox drove home runs with bases-loaded singles to tie the game.
The Rams tried to suicide squeeze home the go-ahead run. The batter lunged at a pitch and momentum took him into the left-handed box. The ball was dropped by the catcher and it, too, fell into the left-handed batting box.
The eventual winning run came home as the Sartans catcher tried to pick up the ball and make the tag. St. Pius coach Matt McCoy was ejected on this play after arguing that the Rio Rancho batter interfered with his catcher.
No. 3 LA CUEVA 10, No. 6 ATRISCO HERITAGE 7: Although the Bears blew a 7-0 lead, in large part due to Steven Barboa’s grand slam for the Jaguars, La Cueva regrouped at home and advanced.
Ben Schoneman hit a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the first inning for the Bears (6-2), and later Jack Pineda hit a two-run double as La Cueva built a 7-0 lead on Atrisco Heritage (5-2).
The Bears scored three times in the fifth to break a 7-7 tie. Austin Schlagel’s sacrifice fly scored what proved to be the game-winning run, and Schoneman added a two-run single.