Isotopes split double-header on an eventful Saturday evening - Albuquerque Journal

Isotopes split double-header on an eventful Saturday evening

Albuquerque’s Hunter Stovall high-fives Little Leaguers as they make they way around RGCU field during the Little League Banner Parade between games of the Isotopes’ doubleheader against the Tacoma Rainiers on Saturday.
Mike Sandoval/ For the Journal


While they didn’t get the doubleheader sweep in front of an announced crowd of 11,286 fans on Saturday night, the Albuquerque Isotopes did accomplish something they haven’t done in more than a month.

With a 6-1 Game 1 (7 innings) win over the visiting Tacoma Rainiers, the Isotopes won back-to-back games for the first time since April 16 (at El Paso) and April 18 (vs. Oklahoma City). The Isotopes also won on Thursday night and saw Friday night’s game suspended due to rain, making way for Saturday’s double-header, which started 41 minutes late due to rain. Surrendering a four-run fourth inning in a 6-3 nightcap loss to Tacoma meant the win streak ended at two, but as has been the case all season — if not for their entire existence — the ball park was hardly feeling subdued about the result on the field.

Between a postgame fireworks show, a between-games Little League parade around the outfield and a special Women in Sports Night promotion, the Isotopes’ announced crowd was the third highest announced Minor League Baseball crowd in the country this season. The Isotopes also have the top crowd with the 15,817 on the May 5 Mariachis Night game. As for the standings, the Isotopes’ 19-25 record keeps them near the bottom of the Pacific Coast League standings after now having won just nine of their past 27 games.

WOMEN IN SPORTS: In addition to a between-games Little League parade with hundreds of area baseball players marching around the outfield with their specially made team banners, Saturday was also the Isotopes’ Women in Sports Night promotion.

The undefeated Rockford Peaches “Rookies” (7-8 year olds) team from Roadrunner Little League — the first all-girls baseball team in that league — was recognized before the game as part of the promotion as were four “Ambassadors” who had a special video about them played in the stadium. They also threw out the first pitch.

The ambassadors were former Sandia High and UNM basketball star Nikki Heckroth Lobato, former UNM Lobo soccer player Gwen Maly, former track & field star Sue Vigil MacEachen and NMAA Executive Director Sally Marquez.

WEATHER OR NOT: Monsoon season has not started in New Mexico, but Isotopes Park didn’t seem to get the message. Saturday featured for the Isotopes a third consecutive day of weather-related delays or postponements — bringing to 4 hours, 10 minutes of total weather delays so far this season.

Thursday featured a 17-minute delay due to wet field conditions.

Friday’s game was postponed after a 50-minute delay.

Saturday’s doubleheader featured a 41-minute delay due to weather before Game 1. The team also had 2 hours, 22 minutes of delays over four days in Round Rock from April 25-28.

FACING A CHALLENGE: Saturday’s doubleheader made use of the challenge system, whereby both teams could challenge any ball or strike call made by home plate umpire Anthony Perez and it would then be checked by the stadium’s ABS (Automated ball/strike) system. But the system wasn’t up and running — it was experiencing a technical challenge, if you will— for the first couple of hitters of the top of the first inning.

The delay was less than a minute for the team monitoring the system in the press box to radio down to first base umpire Reed Basner, who alerted Perez and both dugouts that the challenges were not available. So, when the system did get fixed by the third Tacoma batter in the first inning, the decision was made to just keep the system off for the full inning so neither team had an advantage.

It resumed, without issue, from the second inning of Game 1 on through the end of Game 2. 

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Elehuris Montero’s 2-run homer in the first inning of Game 2 gave him hit 10th homer of the season and the Isotopes runs 45 and 46 in the first inning this season, most scored in the first inning by any team in Minor League Baseball this season. 

Though the Isotopes didn’t allow a run in the first inning of either of Saturday’s two games, they’ve still also allowed more first inning runs than any team in MILB. 

Home » From the newspaper » Isotopes split double-header on an eventful Saturday evening

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