(NMMI third basemen Jaden Hutchins gets congratulations at home plate from his teammates after a grand-slam homerun in Game 1 to put the Broncos up 5-3. Hutchins had two dingers in the game and all five of NMMI’s RBIs. Photo courtesy of Shutternut)
Peter Dindinger – NMMI Sports Press
Seven home runs were hit out of NMMI Ballpark on Saturday during a doubleheader between the New Mexico Military Institute Broncos and the North Central Texas College Lions.
In Game 1, Hobbs native Jaden Hutchins went 2 for 3 with a solo home run, grand slam and five RBIs to help lift the Broncos over NCTC, 5-4.
Outfielder Jesh Leckey prevented the game from going into extra innings after he threw out a runner at the plate to tally the third and final out in the top of the seventh.
The nightcap was a much different story as the Lions cranked out 18 hits to split the series with a 14-5 win in seven innings.
“Game 1 was an interesting game. We scrapped around and were able to maintain a lead,” said NMMI head coach Chris Cook. “It took some impressive plays and a little bit of luck on our side.
“Game 2 just didn’t get off to the right start with us on the mound. We just left too many balls over the plate. They jumped on them, did a lot of damage.”
The Lions (3-1) took a 3-0 lead to start Game 1.
Hutchins then got the Broncos on the board with a solo homer in the bottom of the second.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the third inning, Hutchins came through in the clutch with a grand slam that gave NMMI a 5-3 lead.
Chase Cromer scored on an error by the right fielder in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run.
NMMI (3-3) only had five hits in Game 1.
Tyler Hardwick (1-1) picked up his first victory after throwing 4 2/3 innings allowing four earned runs on seven hits.
In Game 2, Clay Stevens hit for the cycle for the Lions going 5 for 5 with a single, double, triple, two homers and three RBIs.
Trailing 10-1 in the bottom of the sixth, NMMI’s Julian Galindo hit a two-RBI single to highlight a four-run rally.
The rally wasn’t enough to erase the deficit.
NCTC got some insurance runs in the top of the seventh when Cody Seltzer hit a three-run homer in what ended up being a four-run frame.
The Lions hit five home runs in Game 2.
Of NMMI’s nine hits, Leckey finished 2 for 3 with two singles while Gavon Clemons went 1 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
Galindo ended up going 1 for 3 with two RBIs.
Jorge Garcia suffered the loss on the mound for the Broncos in Game 2 after allowing nine earned runs on 10 hits in three innings of work.
Josh Crabtree had a solid outing in relief, allowing five hits and one earned run in three innings.
The series concludes Sunday with another doubleheader beginning at noon.
“We just didn’t start that game well on the mound,” Cook said about Game 2. “We’ve just got to do a better job tomorrow executing pitches and hopefully we can progress a little bit more offensively.
“Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting that confidence. We need to avoid getting to our pitch counts up so early with our starting pitchers.”