Socorro catcher Anthony Silva puts out a sliding baserunner at homeplate.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain photos

Baseball is a fickle sport where one lousy bounce can make all the difference, and Socorro found that out on April 5 when the Warriors lost a 5-3 baseball heartbreaker to Hot Springs.

With the bases loaded, a wild pitch allowed coach Lawrence Montano to send sophomore Sebastian “Smiley” Mercado to home plate. Still, the ball bounced into the hands of a Hot Springs defender, and Mercado was caught in no man’s land for the final out.

The play ended a remarkable rally by the Warriors, who were outgunned in the first game of the doubleheader 13-3, and in both games, Socorro showed the ability to produce runs late.

Cenyon Scarborough lays on the tag for an out against Hot Springs.

“The fact that they didn’t give up, and they were still battling,” Montano said. “They stayed in the game. They wanted to win. They were fired up. You know, that’s hard to coach. That is something that must come from within.”

Things are coming together for the Warriors, but the doubleheader sweep by Hot Springs leaves Socorro in a hole it will need to dig itself out of before the District 3-3A season gets too far along.

“We had them here in this last game. It’s a game of inches, and we took the chance we’d have the runner on,” Montano said.

The two-out rally had fans on the edge of their seats as the bases loaded up.

“We’re down three runs. We have got to do something, and we chose to be aggressive here in the end. It kind of beat us — yeah, that was heartbreaking,” Montano said.

Errors in the outfield set back the Warriors’ efforts, and baserunning miscues also cost Socorro a few outs.

The Warriors generated eight hits in game one with Alex Amaro, Anthony Silva, Fernando Torres, Derek Lucero, Cenyon Scarborough, Warren Kurtnacker, Angel Perez and Marcus Armijo.

Socorro needed six hits in game two to equal their first-game run total, as Amaro, Torres, Perez, Mercado and Armijo had one rap each.

Sophomore hurler David Gutierrez, Jr. got the start on the mound in the first game and issued five strikeouts before giving way to relievers Derek Lucero and Joseph Rivera.

Cenyon Scarborough was the team’s strikeout leader, and he sat down six Hot Springs’ batters over his four innings of work. Rivera pulled double-relief duty, closed out the final three innings, and added three strikeouts to his totals.

Socorro faces a four-game road stretch with contests against Hot Springs (April 11), Cobre (April 15 doubleheader), and Magdalena on April 17. The game against the Steers wasn’t originally on the schedule and was added last week. The Warriors will be at home on April 19 for a 3 p.m. game against Cobre.