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Goddard splits with Artesia

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Goddard’s Tyler Hardwick gets ready to fire a pitch against the Artesia Bulldogs during doubleheader Friday night in Artesia. Hardwick went the distance in game two as the Rockets defeated the Bulldogs 11-5. Artesia won the opening game 8-3. (Mike Smith Photo)

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ARTESIA — For a time, it looked like the Goddard Rockets (13-3, 3-1) were going to defeat the Artesia Bulldogs (10-8, 3-1) in the opening game of a district doubleheader Friday. Errors toward the end hurt the No. 1 Rockets and helped the No. 5 Bulldogs claim an 8-3 victory.

“Errors sure hurt us,” Goddard head coach Gilbert Alvarado said. “We gave those guys a lot of extra bases and I think we gave up at least three runs just based on errors that shouldn’t have been there. Probably should have been up 3-1 going into the sixth and we should have just played some defense behind Drew.”

Drew Price, Goddard’s starting pitcher, was cruising along with a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. Artesia’s lead-off hitter Robert Fernandez singled and then went to third on an error in the outfield. He later scored on a J.R. Bustamante sacrifice bunt.

The Rockets were able to get out of the inning with a 3-2 lead. However, in the bottom of the fifth, Artesia was able overtake Goddard, giving the Bulldogs a 6-3 lead.

Despite committing five errors in the game, Alvarado thought that Price was giving the Rockets a chance to stay in the contest.

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Price was lifted in the bottom of the sixth for Eli Fairbanks and he gave up a two-run homer to Taylor Null over the centerfield fence.

The errors weren’t the only concern for the Rockets.

“I felt like our approach at the plate could have been better. But for us, it was just shooting ourselves in the foot,” Alvarado said. “It was rough, we really couldn’t string two base hits in a row. We kept leaving people on base. Some of us didn’t have the approach at the plate that we should have had.”

Heading into the second game, the Rockets grabbed some quick nourishment from a brown bag dinner and they told Alvarado they were ready for a new game.

“If we take it inning by inning, I think we’ll be OK,” Alvarado said before game two.

The Rockets were more than OK committing only one error in the second game and the bats came alive as they defeated the Bulldogs 11-5.

Artesia committed five errors and Rocket starting pitcher Tyler Hardwick went the distance striking out seven.

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