Home Sports Local Sports Dexter dominates Santa Rosa in playoff win

Dexter dominates Santa Rosa in playoff win

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J.T. Keith Photo Dexter's Jaime Chavira scores against Santa Rosa as they win, 10-4.

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Last season on the exact same field at Cleveland High School, these Dexter Demons were in a tailspin and it looked as if their bats were under house arrest in a loss to Estancia. This year against Santa Rosa everything was different. They were not the home team, they were the visiting team because they were a lower seed.

That was fine by them because from the start of the day their leader — senior pitcher Matt Otero — was up and positive. Otero realized as a senior that he set the tone with his attitude and he promised to stay up no matter what. That he did, as he had a couple of hits and pitched an impressive game in what was his final outing on the mound. Otero led the Demons to a 10-4 victory on Wednesday from the visiting dugout at Cleveland High School.

Otero flirted with a no-hitter until he gave up a two-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning. He impressed his teammates by keeping his composure and continuing to pitch and dominate the inner and lower part of the plate as he had before the homer. He kept the Lion hitters off balance by throwing his fastball and mixing in his curveball, which froze hitters at the plate as they were guessing on which pitch he would throw.

Otero set the pace for his teammates at the plate, on the mound and in the dugout. It was a totally different story from when he pitched against Estancia last season and was pulled after two innings.

“My team talked to me,” Otero said. “I’ve been struggling with my attitude all year. I threw last year against Estancia and my attitude went down. When that happened everybody’s attitude went down. We just have to stay positive and have fun, like we have been doing all year. I can’t get down — when they hit the home run off of me it didn’t bother me.”

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Demons’ coach Arturo Duran gathered his team together before they took the field after team introductions and told them to jump on Santa Rosa from the beginning and to stay positive no matter what. No problem with that, as the bench cheered each other for great plays and for effort. Not even when the Lions made them take off their necklaces could they rattle Dexter.

Dexter seemed to be the team from last year when, in the first inning, David Miramontes hit a rocket to left field that bounced over the fence for a ground rule double. Smooth swinging Fernando Polanco singled through shortstop with Duran holding up Miramontes at third. The next Demon hitter popped up to shortstop, and the next batter hit a line drive to center field for the first out of the inning. The next batter up, Santa Rosa’s center fielder made a diving catch and came up throwing to double off the runner for an inning-ending double play.

In the top of the second inning, Jaime Chavira singled to right field and then proceeded to steal second base to get the run-party started. Jarren Amaro walked, putting runners on first and second. Junior Isaac Irigoyen singled right back up the middle to score Chavira for a 1-0 Dexter lead. Then Santa Rosa’s pitcher threw a wild pitch as Amaro scored to give them a 2-0 lead. Miramontes would single to score Irigoyen to give them a 3-0 lead. Dexter would bat around in the inning before scoring six runs. They would add two more runs in the top of the third inning to go up 7-0. By the top of the fourth inning they led, 9-0.

With this win, it is the first time Dexter has been out of the second round of the playoffs since they won the state title in 2014. The win is sweet revenge for the Demons, who ended the regular season in a three-way tie for first place. The tiebreaker came down to points and Dexter ended up in third. Dexter was selected as the No. 6 seed in the tournament.

Dexter will play the winner of the Estancia and Tucumcari game. The game had not finished by press time.

“Thank God,” Duran said. “We’ve been struggling to get over that second-round hump. Our boys came ready to play today. We gave ourselves a chance today.”

Duran didn’t want his team to let a couple of errors deter them like in the past. He feels like if his team stays focus they have a chance to do well in the tournament. Dexter had a team effort with 16 hits.

“We’ve got two more,” Duran told his team after their win. “Good job, I’m very proud of you, let’s keep it up.”

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