The problem with young athletes is sometimes they go to hit the “on” switch and nothing happens. They want to be on when the game starts and sometimes it’s one of those days.
Well, Saturday — with well-meaning parents yelling from the stands “time out” as an Artesia batter hit a fly ball to center field for an out — the umpires had no choice but to let the batter stay in the box.
The batter eventually grounded out, but it was that kind of day for the Noon Optimist all-stars as they lost 16-4 to Artesia at Noon Optimist Field.
Noon Optimist had to use three different pitchers to stay in the game. They brought in Carlos Molina to shut the door after Artesia scored seven runs in the second inning. Molina was taken out after he had hit his pitch total.
Noon Optimist didn’t look as focused playing in back-to-back games. The kids looked like they were scared, scared to make a mistake. It could have been an off game, but if they are going to meet Artesia in the championship game, the kids have to relax and go back to having fun.
In the bottom of the first, Jose Porras drew a walk and Nathan Key also drew a base on balls and Noon Optimist had runners on first and second with no outs. Adyen Luck moved the runners ahead on a fielder’s choice, with runners on first and third. Luck moved to second on a wild pitch, and Noon Optimist loaded the bases, forcing Artesia’s coach to take out his starting pitcher in the middle of the first inning.
Noon Optimist’s big Sam Waide stroked a single to left field to tie the game at 2-2. Noon Optimist could have done more damage but ended up leaving two base runners on base to end the inning.
Artesia scored seven runs in the second inning and the Noon Optimist all-stars seemed to be dazed by those runs. Noon Optimist ended up coming back in the bottom of the third inning and scoring one run when Wyatt Curry — who is swinging one of the hottest bats on the team — singled to get things started. Jose Porras, having a great all-star season, added a single deep to centerfield to score Curry from first base as Noon Optimist closed the score to 9-3, Artesia. Noon Optimist left a runner on base.
Molina led off the bottom of the third inning with a first-pitch double. He ended up on third base on a wild pitch.
Alan Morales drew a walk to have baserunners on the corners first and third with one out. Wyatt Curry showed up and showed out as he laced a single to score Molina from third base to make the score 9-4 and give Noon Optimist momentum.
It was in the fourth inning and the fifth inning that Noon Optimist held Artesia without any runs and in the fifth they retired Artesia in order.
After the game, the coaches gave the players a talk about being ready and focused. The Noon Optimist baseball team is going to be fine. For Noon Optimist it comes down to a one-game season — they play Lions Hondo on Monday, time to be determined.
Noon Optimist will probably throw their ace Ayden Luck on Monday. In the game against Lions Hondo, Luck was on point, throwing his fastball and knuckleball to keep Lions Hondo off balance. Noon Optimist has the ability to play well and win out, but they won’t do it if they are tight and afraid to make a mistake.
“We made some good plays,” Noon Optimist coach James Brown said. “Our bats were a little slower today. They didn’t come out in warmups like we looked yesterday. We had trouble making the routine play that didn’t go our way. The energy wasn’t really there, they looked stressed, we’ll forget this game and move on to the next game.”
Noon Optimist will play Lions Hondo on Monday, time TBD, at Noon Optimist.
Sports editor J.T. Keith can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 304, or firstname.lastname@example.org.