|First Day of the 2012 New Mexico State Softball Tourney|
|Written by Brandon Bernardin|
|Friday, 11 May 2012 05:53|
The high school state softball tournament is being held at Cleveland High’s amazing set of four ballfields. Each field is situated such that all home plates are back-to-back. If I stand in the right place, I can watch four games simultaneously from behind each home plate. That is precisely what I did yesterday from 8am-6pm. I caught every game in girls’ 4A and 5A. The tournament is double elimination and will run through Saturday. Because the tourney is just starting, I thought it would be appropriate to list relevant firsts of day one. [Note: because 4A girls played went on at 8am, 4A teams naturally accomplished the firsts.]
Atrisco Heritage’s #2 batter Alicia Ramirez got the first hit of the tourney with a grounder right back up in the middle. Top-seeded Artesia forced a 3-up-3-down on defense to get through the first half inning the quickest. Susie Chandler of Piedra Vista was the first gal to get dirty with a head first slide into third on a fielder’s choice groundball. Del Norte’s lefty pitcher, Veronica Holloman, was first to battle out of a jam. She had runners on 2nd & 3rd with two outs in the first, and induced a weak come-backer to the mound to get out of the inning scoreless.
Los Lunas scored the first run of the tournament in the top of the third inning of their game against Los Alamos. Los Lunas pitcher D’ana Gabaldon doubled to the right-center field gap to bring home Analiese Medeiros from second. Gabaldon finished with 4 RBI and tossed a 7-inning complete game shutout. Final score: Los Lunas 10, Los Alamos 0.
Aztec finished off Atrisco Heritage 4-1 on senior Danika Chavez’s bases loaded 3-run single in the fourth inning. Del Norte fell to undefeated Piedra Vista 6-0, who is led by junior pitcher Krissa Fortner. With Fortner tossing shutouts, and Susie Chandler doing all things defensively at shortstop, PV will be tough to beat. Chandler also hit a two-run triple in the 5th to break open the game.
Artesia and Gallup played in the closest game the morning. It was a 1-1 pitchers duel going into the 7th and final inning. Gallup freshman Kiana Spencer was going toe-to-toe with Artesia’s Chelsea Bussell. Leading off the bottom of the 7th for Artesia, Hannah Ballew reached on a bunt-single, then had the first legit steal of second base of the day. She scored three batters later on a sacrifice fly to give Artesia a close 2-1 victory.
Girls’ 5A started with Volcano Vista routing home-team Cleveland 11-0. Volcano Vista is led by flame-throwing pitcher Kelsey Stevens. The thing about softball is that pitchers are allowed to unleash several hundred pitches in one day because underhand tossing does not do the same amount of damage to a rotator cuff as overhand. Most teams employed the same pitcher to go double-duty yesterday. Stevens is going to Stanford to play for the Lady Cardinal. VV might be unbeatable.
Cibola and La Cueva met in a brutally close game that unfortunately came down to a blown umpire call. Cibola’s #3 & 4 hitters, Jasmine Mitchell and Brittany Baca, are nearly un-retirable at the plate. They combined to hit four doubles and reach base safely six times out of their first six at-bats. Cibola was leading 4-1. Then La Cueva’s Morgan Kellogg was trying to bunt along Shelby Lucero to second base in the top of the 5th. She nudged the ball with her thigh coming out of the batter’s box but the umpires missed the call. Cibola’s head coach blew a gasket and momentum swung to La Cueva. Daniella Brantley came through a bases loaded 3-run double to the left-center field wall to give La Cueva a 5-4 lead that they never gave up. “We have swagger,” Brantley told me. I guess they do.
Carlsbad beat Rio Rancho in a close 7-5 game. Carlsbad has three Granger girls on the team, two twin sisters and their cousin. Mary Jo Granger is the cousin, and pitcher, and she changes speeds very well. The Cavegirls took the lead for good in the 3rd inning by scoring five runs on five hits and one walk. Las Cruces also beat Alamogordo 2-0 in a game I did not see much of because the others were so riveting. Actually, I just didn’t care to watch that game. Local bias. Check back in throughout the day for more sights and sounds from the softball tourney.
|Last Updated on Friday, 11 May 2012 05:55|