|Day 1 Continued at NM State Softball|
|Written by Brandon Bernardin|
|Friday, 11 May 2012 11:37|
Day 1 Continued…Double Elimination Creates Tension
The afternoon session of May 10th featured four more games in 4A and 5A, two each in the winners’ and losers’ bracket. On the winners’ side, Piedra Vista opened up a 2-0 lead in the third against Los Lunas on a Makayla Duncan single down the left field line. PV extended their lead to 5-0 by the fifth, continuing to get sensational pitching from junior Krissi Fortner. Los Lunas got on the board with a 2-run double to straight away center by Jacklynn Sanchez, but never got closer than the 5-2 final score. PV shortstop Susie Chandler may just be the most complete 4-tool player in 4A; she can hit, run, field, and throw. “Hitting is my favorite,” Chandler told me, “but getting adrenaline highs after making close plays [in the field] are a close second.”
Aztec stunned Artesia 3-1 in the second game of the winners’ bracket. Aztec pitcher Angela Minjarez found her groove on the mound and only allowed one run off a bloop single in the 4th. Artesia was threatening with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 7th, but Minjarez kept her composure and forced a weak popout to second base to end the game. “This was the best day I’ve ever had pitching,” said Minjarez, who recorded both wins for Aztec. “We are going to win tomorrow and advance to the championship.” The always-reliable Artesia crowd was stunned.
On the losers’ side of the bracket, Del Norte needed a rebound game out of star pitcher Veronica Holloman against Los Alamos. Holloman responded by throwing seven innings and allowing only one unearned run. With the Knights clinging to a 2-1 lead after six, Danika Blewett crushed a two-run double to the fence in right-center to seal the victory for Del Norte. “We are losing five seniors after this year,” said Blewett after her game-sealing hit. “We were born for THIS year.” Final score: 5-1, Los Alamos was the first team sent packing.
Gallup’s freshman sensation Kiana Spencer was doing everything she could to battle out of jams in the Bengals’ game against Atrisco Heritage. But unfortunately for the unorthodox southpaw, Atrisco look a two-run lead in the final inning of play on an ill-timed error, and held on to win 4-3. Gallup was sent home empty-handed. Aztec and Piedra Vista were the two teams that emerged with an unscathed record after day one of 4A play. Atrisco-Los Lunas and Artesia-Del Norte meet in elimination games on Friday the 10th.
5A action opened with Cibola sluggers Jasmine Mitchell and Brittany Baca pissed off after seeing their lead against La Cueva slip away earlier in the morning. They helped the Lady Cougars explode for a 10-run 2nd inning on eight hits, officially putting the nail in Cleveland High’s coffin. “We had a team talk [about the La Cueva game],” said Mitchell. “It’s in the past, and we must move forward. Our team is confident.” Jacklyn Pino threw seven shutout innings for Cibola, who cruised to a 14-0 mercy-rule victory.
Meanwhile, La Cueva ran into the Lady Hawks powerhouse of Volcano Vista. La Cueva was threatening in the first inning with runners on 2nd & 3rd with two outs. Jasmine Casados tried to score from third on a wild pitch by Kelsey Stevens, but was caught at the plate to keep the momentum nil. The game remained close into the fifth, but then VV rallied with three straight hits to lead off their half of the inning. The final hit was an RBI-single by Stevens that essentially put the game away. Final score: VV 4, La Cueva 0. It was the 52nd straight victory for the Volcano Vista softball team. Amazing!
Alamogordo eliminated Rio Rancho in a close 2-1 game. Ana Grajeda-Ortiz tripled with one out in the 7th inning and represented the tying run for the Rams. But she remained stranded at third and Rio was sent packing. Carlsbad quietly disposed of Las Cruces 6-5 after another timely pitching performance from Mary Jo Granger in the late innings. Carlsbad joined Volcano Vista as the only two teams to make it through day one of 5A action without a loss. The two teams meet Friday, May 11th at 8am to determine which team gets the upper hand headed into championship Saturday. Cibola-Las Cruces and La Cueva-Alamogordo are the elimination games on Friday. Stay tuned for more updates.