The Tiger Girls of the Diamonds were looking good when they welcomed district rival Hatch into their park Friday, June 4. Through the first three innings, the Tigers were more than holding their own, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the second inning after both teams held scoreless in the first. At the end of the third, the score was knotted up, 5-5. Still very manageable with as good as the Tiger defense had been through those first three.

In the fourth, things started unraveling for the Tiger Girls. Though they managed three more runs, they could not find the solution to the Hatch bats and gave up 13 runs. This was too deep a hole for the Tigers to climb out of, though they continued to push through, battling with heart to get back in.

Through to the end of the fifth, when the game was called at 13-23, the Tigers competed with heart and with the sort of skill we see in this young team. Sadly, if you deduct the fourth inning, the Tigers battled their guests to a 10-10 draw. But of course, that’s not how softball is done, and every inning does, in fact count.

Fans watching understand that this team’s level of skill, commitment and teamwork is not reflected in their win-loss record. Currently only six of the Tigers were on the team last year, and there are as many eighth grade and freshmen Tigers in the line-up. Yet they still remain competitive. Against Hatch, starting pitcher Taylor Candelaria struck out three. Three up three down to hold the visitors scoreless for the second straight inning. In the first inning quick infield defense stopped the Hatch team cold as well. The first out was quick work at second base to stop the ball and send it to first. The next two outs were from a quick scoop up of grounders by Candelaria and bulleting them to Malaya Garcia on first for the outs. Though three Hatch girls got on base, they were all stranded there at the inning’s end.

The Tiger girls are very proficient at stealing bases, and even scoring runs with home plate steals. They just are not content to stay on the base they have and always want to advance. Though the Tigers were struggling with the sticks, they managed hits, especially with a Brooklynn Garcia triple late in the fifth that brought in a run. Among those crossing home plate for the Tigers were Candelaria, Aubrie Carter, Lily Castaneda, Alex Gonzales, Malaya Garcia and Juli Granillo and Brooklynn Garcia twice.

Though this team of Tigers has their work cut out for them as the shortened season winds down, their roster is filled with seven freshmen or eighth-graders around a core of sophomore and junior veterans, all learning under the guidance of an experienced coaching staff, they have something solid to build on going forward. The key right now is keeping the team together, working hard in the off-season, and come back. Strong and show just what they are truly capable of going forward into the next season.

Next up for our Girls of the Diamonds is a home varsity double header against Cobre on Friday, June 11. After that, the next home will be a JV doubleheader Saturday hosting Socorro and Friday, June 18 varsity doubleheader on the Diamonds at Tiger Fields to close out the regular season.

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