Bloomfield ran through its competition all season, amassing an 8-0 record in district to win the title in the team's first year back in 3A after a two-year stint in 4A.
“We had good defense and decent pitching, I guess, and good hitting,” said Bloomfield senior pitcher Rebecca Sappington. “It feels good to come out with the district win.”
The Lady Bobcats (18-8, 8-0 District 1-3A) defeated Shiprock 10-0 in five innings on Thursday in Bloomfield.
Sappington was nearly flawless in the circle as she struck out six Lady Chieftains in five innings. She allowed just three hits and issued only one walk as her defense played strong behind her.
“That is what I want. A strong game every game,” Sappington said.
Bloomfield head coach Andi Clark has been pleased with Sappington's senior season and is ready to use her as much as she can in the state tournament.
Clark also knows Thalia O'Neill gives the team another great option in the circle.
“Both have done well. (Sappington), being a senior, she is ready. She is bringing a lot more every game as we have gotten closer to state,” Clark said. “I am proud of how far she has come and the hard work she has put in.”
Bloomfield's batters couldn't be contained by Shiprock starting pitcher Adrianna Toledo on Thursday.
Bloomfield scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning after a Shiprock fielding error with two outs extended the inning.
A Sappington double plated Sophia Cumpton, and Morgan Clark tripled to bring Sappington home.
Chelsey Runyon followed up Clark's triple with a two-run home run to right-center field.
Runyon was 3-for-3 in the game and just a triple shy of hitting for a cycle.
“It is a good feeling, especially when my family comes to watch,” Runyon said of her big day at the plate.
“It is always nice to have a good at-bat.”
Rachel Candelaria scored one of her two runs in the game during the second inning to give Bloomfield a 5-0 advantage.
The Lady Bobcats extended that lead to 9-0 in the third inning. Shayla Felix drove in Runyon with an RBI-double. Yessenia Ibarra followed up Felix's single with a double, and then Haili Bekes hit a double to score Ibarra.
A Cumpton double then drove in Bekes to round out the inning's scoring.
The first nine Bloomfield runs all crossed the plate with two outs in the inning.
“We need to work a bit on our short game, but we have a lot of girls coming through when it is needed,” Clark said. “All season, I felt we were really strong offensively one through nine. Now it is starting to show.”
Shiprock head coach Levi Toledo was happy with Adrianna Toledo's pitching despite Bloomfield's big offensive day.
“She was hitting all of her spots, but Bloomfield was just hitting her,” he said. “They were putting balls in gaps with really good hitting.”
The game came to an end in the bottom of the fifth inning when a Bekes double scored Candelaria to give Bloomfield a 10-0 run-rule win.
“I was really happy with the game. We played good defense and hit the ball. I am proud of the girls,” Clark said.
Clark expects Bloomfield to earn either a No.
2 or No. 3 seed when the state selections are made on Sunday.
“I hope that is where we are. That is my goal,” she said. “We are coming together as one. We struggled with errors during the season, but we are getting better. We are ready to go and excited.”
Toledo expects the Lady Chieftains (11-11, 6-2) to land a No. 8 or No. 9 seed.
“We have been doing alright. We have been hitting the ball, but we just run into bitty stuff that hurts us,” Toledo said. “This was a really good game for us to play going into state. We played a really good team and we will be ready for anybody. All of the top teams are in the Four Corners area.”
John Livingston can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.