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Pinto's baseball season off to a decent start

The Independent of Edgewood, New Mexico

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With a new coach and some noticeable field improvements Moriarty High's baseball season is off to a decent start.

The Pintos began the season winning five of their first seven games-two of them blowout victories-then dropped back-to-back home games before bouncing back with a close victory on the road against Grants last Saturday.

"They're going through a big learning curve," said first-year skipper Mark Medina. "They're learning how to play the game the right way."

At Grants, a make-up game due to snow earlier in the season, the Pintos knocked out 10 hits while outlasting the Pirates 9-8. Moriarty senior Eron Hyatt pitched six-plus innings striking out seven Grants batters; junior Nick Gonzales went 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and 2 RBIs.

"It was a pretty good hitting day for us," said Moriarty assistant coach Eric Lucero.

Lucero said the Pinto "bats woke up" against Grants after struggling in the previous two outings-when the Pintos experienced their first lopsided losses of the season falling to Belen 14-3 on March 20 and getting walloped 17-4 by the Cibola Cougars on March 22.

Cibola rocked Moriarty's starting pitcher Lawrence "Junior" Stephan tagging him for 13 runs in 1 and 2/3 innings of work. The Cougars plated a pair of runs in both the third and fourth innings off of relief pitcher Jesse Lucero.

"They're a good hitting ball club," Medina said of the Class 5A Cougars. "You keep putting the ball in play like they did, you're not going to be flawless on defense."

"The Pintos bats were silent for three innings before getting their first base runners of the game in the bottom of the fourth when James Lee lined a high fastball into right field. Jesse Lucero followed by drawing a walk.

"I was just trying to get something going," said Lee of his lead-off single. Back-to-back ground outs moved the runners around the bases scoring Lee. Lucero then came in to score on a passed ball.

The Pintos put together a string of base hits in the bottom of the fifth for their other two runs.

"We'll get better," Medina said after the Cibola game. "They just gotta keep doing the things we've been working on all year... executing. You don't execute, you don't win ball games."

Moriarty's record now stands at 7-4. The Pintos were scheduled to play Albuquerque Academy Tuesday after The Independent went to print.

Copyright 2012 The Independent, Edgewood, New Mexico. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: March 28, 2012

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