For the second straight year the Mesilla Valley Christian Son Blazers (15-3) have prevented the Gateway Christian Warriors (16-7) from advancing to the A-2A baseball title game.
Thursday the Son Blazers defeated the Warriors 14-4 and will face Mora at 9 a.m. for the championship trophy at Isotopes Park in Albuquerque.
“We got the bases loaded in the first inning with only one out and they couldn’t get a run across,” said Gateway head coach Rick Rapp. “Then in the bottom of the first Jacob Ramos, our starting pitcher, kind of had a rough time. He walked several batters and they ended up scoring five runs.”
The Son Blazers scored another run in the top of the second. Gateway was able to score a single run in the bottom of that frame, however MVCS was able to keep their distance for the rest of the game.
The Son Blazers had 11 hits and Ramos took the loss for the Warriors.
In 2017, MVCS shut out Gateway 4-0 in the semifinals.
Despite Thursday’s loss, Rapp said the Warriors have nothing to be ashamed of.
“As far as the season goes, definitely did not want it to end, that it did,” Rapp said. “I was proud of them, we improved. We’re just going to have to make some improvements next year. We’ve got the majority of our kids coming back and just continue to encourage them to work hard.”
The Warriors’ goal is to make it back to the Duke City in 2019 and Rapp feels Gateway had a good season overall — and now that the offseason is here, he wants his squad to focus on off-peak activities.
“We just can’t show up during baseball season and expect to get better,” Rapp said. “They do it in the offseason by lifting some weights and working on hitting and throwing and strengthening their arms. Little things like that. That’s going to be the key to our success next year.”
The Warriors are saying goodbye to Gideon Perry and Trevor O’Bryon. Thursday’s game was the last one for the seniors.
Wyatt Arlet, Jaydon Stephens, Gage Estes, Ramos, Riley Arnold and Chase Winkler are the nucleus of Gateway’s lineup and provide the Warriors with strong leadership next year.
Rapp also intends to come back in 2019.
“I’ll be back and take it one year at a time,” Rapp said.