Aztec (9-3) defeated San Juan High out of Blanding, Utah, 10-9 in walk-off fashion as a base hit down the right field line off the bat of Randy LePlatt scored Noah Frohn from second base to give the Tigers a home win.
"It was ugly but we got the W," said Aztec assistant coach Brett Alexander. "By ugly, I mean ugly."
Alexander hoped the Tigers would come out with intensity after a big tournament win at home last weekend and heading into a week with three home games.
"We kind of expected them to come off that big win against Moriarty with a lot of tempo. For them to come out and play flat like we did was a little discouraging," Alexander said. "It was one of those games where it was just tough to stay focused with a lot of stuff going on. To find the win is ultimately what mattered the most, but we are definitely not happy about the way we played."
Dylan Stinson pitched six innings for the Tigers before being relieved by Dalton Watson, who picked up the win.
Watson gave up the game-tying run in the top of the seventh inning after allowing a few base hits, but he worked himself out of a bases loaded jam with no outs by getting two strikeouts and a groundout.
"Watson had a fairly good inning. I was proud to see him work out of a jam there," Alexander said.
"He struggled at shortstop some today and at the plate a bit, but for him to come in and pitch the way he did, I think he grew up a little bit today."
Aztec is in action again at home Thursday against Pagosa Springs, Colo.
Kirtland Central 4, Grants 1
Kirtland Central 11, Grants 8
KIRTLAND — The Broncos picked up two key home victories Tuesday against Grants.
Kirtland Central (5-9) was led by the solid pitching of Jalen Nakai in Game 1 of a doubleheader as the Broncos took a 4-1 win.
Nakai was credited with the win, while Alex Sanchez came on in relief in the seventh inning to record a save.
"The first game was well-pitched by both teams," said Kirtland Central head coach Jim Belveal. "A bunch of guys stepped up and hit the ball well, too. Kordell Jim, Landon Love and Raashaun Sorrelhorse are really hitting for us, and Jim is doing an outstanding job behind the plate."
In Game 2, Sorrellhorse pitched three innings before being relieved by Sanchez.
Sanchez went one inning before giving way to Aaron Frank, who was eventually credited with a win.
Kirtland stormed out to an early 8-2 lead, but Grants fought back to make it an 8-7 game in the fourth inning.
"After that, we came back up and put the next three runs on the board to extend the lead. Frank really had a nice hit to help himself out," Belveal said. "The kids came back and hit the ball pretty well. Grants made a few critical errors, but we came in and hit the ball hard."
Belveal is hoping a sweep at home against another 4A school will help the team mentally.
"What we like is confidence, and maybe this will do it for us," he said.
Kirtland Central plays again Saturday at Taos.
Bloomfield 12, Pojoaque Valley 0
St. Michael's 9, Bloomfield 3
SANTA FE — The Bobcat bats came alive in the first of two games Tuesday in Santa Fe, but a tough first inning in Game 2 cost Bloomfield a shot at St. Michael's.
Bloomfield (5-4) defeated Pojoaque Valley in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
The Bobcat pitching staff of Tyler Barker and Junior Candelaria combined for 10 strikeouts in the win.
"We had a much better approach at the plate, too," said Bobcats' head coach Frank DeHoyos. "We drew some walks and got hits when we needed them, and we also capitalized on their errors."
Game 2 against St. Michael's was a different story as the Bobcats fell 9-3.
Bloomfield scored one run in the top of the first inning but surrendered seven in the bottom half of the frame as Luke Dugan was chased off the mound quickly and the Bobcat fielders committed four errors.
Kyle Thompson entered the game and closed the door on St. Michael's for the majority of the next six innings, DeHoyos said.
"After that first inning, we played them to a 3-2 game. That first inning was just a lack of focus," DeHoyos said.
DeHoyos said the team is still working to improve each day before the district season begins.
"We are happy to get a split on the road after playing a good team. We still have a long way to go before we get really good, but we are going in the right direction," DeHoyos said. "We hit the ball better, and we are having better approaches at the plate. We know it isn't how you start, it is how you finish."
John Livingston may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.