RIO RANCHO – There appears to be one fixed in the case of highschool sports activities in New Mexico. Since 2001 – earlier than any of this 12 months’s highschool athletes have been even born – there has all the time been at the least one Metro-area crew enjoying for a state softball title on Championship Saturday.
However the seasonal spring winds introduced extra than simply infield mud and smoke from the fires nonetheless raging within the north to Cleveland Excessive on Friday afternoon.
There was additionally change within the air.
Centennial, a previous Class 5A title winner from Las Cruces, and 4A juggernaut Artesia, every eradicated the La Cueva Bears and Valley Vikings – the Metro space’s ultimate two representatives this years.
“The south came up here and really represented well this year. They did,” mentioned La Cueva head coach Ron Romero after his No. 4-seeded Bears have been eradicated by Centennial. “But I’m proud of my team and proud of how we represented out district and the city.”
CLASS 5A: Down 10-0 in what might have been the decisive fifth inning, the Bears tacked on 5 runs, together with a pinch-hit three-run blast over the center-field wall by senior Hannah Campos, however the rally wasn’t sufficient in a 10-7 loss to Centennial, bringing the season to an finish for La Cueva (20-8).
For La Cueva senior Ashlyn Zapach, Friday’s recreation appeared to reflect the crew’s season.
“We started out rough – we had a losing record early in the season and I didn’t think then we’d ever get this far,” mentioned Zapach, referring to La Cueva’s 4-6 begin. “But then we started coming together in late March and today, we really started coming together later in the game and we had a chance at the end.”
The Bears left 13 runners on base and did convey up the potential profitable run with the bases loaded within the seventh earlier than Centennial ace Caprice Barela, who struck out seven, bought the ultimate out.
Centennial later beat No. 9 Piedra Vista, 2-0, after which No. 3 Alamogordo, 12-10, to win 4 consecutive elimination video games (three of them on Friday) to arrange Saturday’s Class 5A championship sequence with No. 1 Carlsbad at 5 p.m. on the UNM Softball Subject.
CLASS 4A: Seeded ninth, Valley already had one of many this 12 months’s match week upsets of the 12 months with their 4-0 win over three-time defending champion and top-seeded Artesia on Thursday.
However, Valley discovered itself again within the comfort bracket on Friday, needing three consecutive wins – and one other upset of Artesia – to get to championship Saturday.
The day began nicely sufficient with a fast 12-0 Friday morning win in 5 innings over No. 7 Aztec thanks partly to a fifth-inning solo residence run by senior Mari Baca for the 10-run lead. The Vikings (17-12) added two extra insurance coverage runs earlier than establishing the Artesia rematch.
However this time, the Bulldogs, led by Baylor-bound RyLee Crandall, cruised to a 9-2 win.
“This game was disappointing, but not this season,” mentioned Valley coach Oscar Medrano. “We’re peaking at the right time, and I’m so proud of this team. But it’s so hard on days like this with so many games to win without the type of depth these other teams have. But we’re young and if I can get the numbers up, I think we can be good next year.”
Friday night, Artesia’s reign as state champion since 2018 got here to an finish, shedding 17-15 in an elimination recreation to No. 4 Lovington.
The Wildcats now tackle No. 2 Gallup at UNM at 3 p.m. with an if-necessary recreation to comply with the 5A Recreation 1, which is about for five p.m.
CLASS 3A: At UNM, top-seeded Robertson gained its first softball title defeating No. 3 Santa Fe Indian College 8-1 and rolling via 4 playoff wins 41-6.
Robertson (25-4) had only one 3A loss this season – 10-8 at Cobre within the March 18 season opener. SFIS finishes 20-12 on the season.
CLASS 1A/2A: At UNM, No. 1 Loving dealt with No. 2 Tularosa 8-2 and accomplished a dominant 2022 by beating the identical program that beat them for a championship final 12 months. For Loving (23-5), the championship is No. 18 in softball and title recreation look No. 28. The Falcons outscored opponents in 4 playoff video games 41-8, with Tularosa (21-5) scoring all eight runs – six in Thursday’s winner’s bracket semifinal and two on Friday.