RIO RANCHO — Rio Rancho High School junior Dylan Archuleta batted and pitched his team to a 17-10 win over Carlsbad Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the annual Rio Rancho Sal Puentes baseball tournament.
Archuleta was 3 for 3, with six RBIs, three coming on his fifth-inning home run.
The Rams (13-1-2) took advantage of two walks and three hit batters in the first inning, when they scored nine runs on four hits.
All nine runs came with two outs, capped by Niko Alcala’s three-run homer to left. Oddly enough, the same player, Dean Sedillo, made both the second and third outs for the Rams in the first inning.
The Rams enjoyed fast starts throughout the tournament, which also included victories over Goddard and Valley.
“Totally unexpected,” Rio Rancho coach Ron Murphy said of the first-inning explosion Saturday against the Cavemen. “We didn’t expect it, they didn’t expect it. Just one of those things that happens sometimes.”
The final paired two highly-ranked teams in No. 3 Rio Rancho and No. 4 Carlsbad. The Cavemen scored a single run to start the game but were immediately put into a big hole in the bottom half.
“We could probably play Carlsbad 10 times and that would never happen again,” Murphy said. “Our kids got hot at the right time, to be honest.”
Rams ace right-hander Seth Lee allowed single runs in the first and second innings and was relieved by Archuleta (3-0) after walking the bases loaded with two down in the third with Rio Rancho leading by nine runs. Designated hitter Fabian Hernandez greeted him with a triple, followed by a single by Jeremiah Dominguez, getting the Cavemen (13-3) within five runs at 11-6.
Carlsbad scored twice in the fifth, again after two outs, to get even closer. Mack Mabrey grounded out on a 3-2 pitch with two teammates on base, or the damage could have been worse.
Casen Savage moved from center field to the mound to get the final four outs for the Rams, winning their own tournament for the eighth time.
Rams catcher Josh Boyer had three RBIs for the Rams, who got eight of their first 14 runs scored by batters who had walked or been hit by a pitch.
Sandia routed Valley 15-5 in the third-place game; Cleveland beat Albuquerque Academy 11-5 for fifth place, and Goddard whipped Artesia 12-0 for seventh place. Artesia was outscored 38-2 in its trio or tournament losses.
Now Rio Rancho turns its attention to District 1-5A action, starting Tuesday with Atrisco Heritage.