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No. 1 St. Pius among three ranked losers to fall on Tuesday as district baseball action opens

Apr. 2—BELEN — It was not a good ending for No. 7 Albuquerque Academy.

It was a disappointing day for No. 6 Hope Christian.

And it was a mess of an evening for Class 4A's No. 1-ranked team, the St. Pius Sartans.

As league play began Tuesday, Districts 5-4A and 6-4A, which have seven of the top-10 ranked baseball teams in the latest coaches poll, early battle lines were drawn.

No. 10-ranked Valley plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh to walk off Academy, 6-5, in a 6-4A opener. In another 6-4A opener, Hope gave up three unearned runs in a tough 3-2 loss to Bernalilllo.

And in Belen, under the lights on Tuesday, St. Pius had plenty of issues in an 11-2 loss to fifth-ranked Belen in District 5-4A.

The Eagles (11-4) got a strong pitching performance from senior right-hander Christian Wilson (4-0) against the Sartans (10-6), and Belen scored the final nine runs in the game.

Wilson also hit a solo home run to back his own cause. Belen, St. Pius and Grants (which is ranked No. 4 by the coaches) are all expected to contend for the District 5-4A crown over the next few weeks.

"We feel like the top three teams in our district are all about even," Belen coach Tom Wisneski said after his Eagles won Tuesday night. "Pius is a good team, it just wasn't a good night for them."

Aside from a two-run homer by Michael Deller to tie the game at 2-all in the top of the second, not much went right for the Sartans.

Belen took the lead for good in the bottom half of the second. Angel Garcia's RBI single to left scored the go-ahead run, and another run came home on a St. Pius throwing error.

Wilson added his homer in the third for a three-run cushion.

The Eagles added six runs in the sixth for the final margin, and they didn't even have a single hit in that entire rally thanks to walks, one ugly error, and a two-run wild pitch.

Wilson, the Belen staff ace and a three-year veteran struck out eight in his performance.

St. Pius faces Grants next. Belen takes on Highland.

"It's a good team win," Wisneski said. "I told the guys, this game doesn't mean a lot unless we go out and attack the next game like we attacked this game."

At the Jennifer Riordan Complex on the West Side, Hope Christian was undone by its defense, as three errors led to three Bernalillo (11-3) unearned runs in that close loss to the Spartans.

At Valley, the Vikings trailed Academy 5-3 headed into the bottom of the seventh, but rallied for the victory over the Chargers.

Two singles and a hit batsman loaded the bases for Valley (7-7). A balk scored a run, and a fielder's choice scored the tying run.

With one out, Tommy Velarde's soft fly ball just behind first base dropped in for a hit, and the winning run raced home from third.