Aztec, Farmington and Piedra Vista all advanced in the 4A bracket into the Round of Eight, and Bloomfield defeated Sandia Prep to move on in the 3A bracket.
“It is a testament to District 1-4A and our whole area. Everybody knows some of the best softball in the state is played in San Juan County,” said Kevin Werth, head coach of the seven-time defending state champion Piedra Vista Lady Panthers. “To have us four teams and Navajo Prep expected to get a high seed in 2A this year, that is five teams right there that know how to play some good softball.”
Here is a look at all of Saturday's action:
No. 1 Piedra Vista 15, No. 16 Roswell 0
Piedra Vista is peaking at the right time, just as it always seems to do around state tournament time.
The seven-time defending state champs defeated No. 16 Roswell 15-0 in three innings on Saturday at the Farmington Sports Complex.
“The kids did a great job. We weren't looking past Roswell,” said PV head coach Kevin Werth. “We hope to keep rolling.”
Susie Chandler hit a three-run home run in the first inning, and Jordan Montoya hit a two-run home run to highlight the early scoring.
Krissy Fortner pitched just two innings for PV. She gave up one hit and recorded four strikeouts.
Megan Risner pitched the final inning and struck out two of the three batters she faced.
“At the end of the game, we have five freshman on the field, as well as a sophomore and two juniors. Even though the score was 14-0 at the time, that is still invaluable experience for them to get in and get action in the state tournament. Each one of them go an at-bat. That is huge because a lot of time you are not able to do that.
But that is big for them to learn from it for when it is their turn to step up next year.”
Piedra Vista will play No. 9 Miyamura on Thursday morning.
“We haven't played them, but we have scouted them maybe seven times. We have been anticipating them for a while,” Werth said. “I am glad it worked out and we get to play them. All those miles and charts we filled out are going to be worth it.”
No. 4 Aztec 5, No. 13 Deming 2
After an unlucky start to Saturday's home game against Deming, Aztec came through with big hits late to secure a 5-2 win and move on to the next round of the state tournament.
“We hit balls right at people, that was our big problem,” said Aztec head coach Jose Santistevan. “We probably had 10 good line drives that went right into gloves. We had people on in the first three innings but just didn't capitalize. After that, we got going.”
Jerrie Knight helped spark the Lady Tigers by driving in the first two runs of the game. Her shot down the first base line scored Amber Linker and Taylor Santistevan.
A Hailey Morris single started another Aztec rally, and Deming errors contributed to Aztec's offense.
Angela Minjarez pitched Aztec to the win.
“Angela didn't have her best stuff. She was down to fastballs and curveballs, only because we were having trouble getting balls called strikes,” Santistevan said.
Minjarez finished with eight strikeouts.
Aztec will face No. 5 Los Lunas in the next round on Thursday. Los Lunas owns an 8-1 victory against Aztec back on March 29 at the Rio Rancho tournament.
“I think this game will be a lot like the last one. It was a 1-0 ball game through seven innings, and I think we are hitting better now than we were at that time,” Santistevan said. “I am looking at the scores, and they barely won. They are giving up some runs, so maybe their pitcher is getting tired, and, hopefully, we are getting better.”
No. 11 Farmington 12, No. 6 Valencia 5
Farmington High may have been the lower seed and the road team on Saturday at Valencia, but the Lady Scorps played with the swagger of a team ready to make a run in the state tournament.
The Lady Scorpions upset Valencia 12-5, thanks to a solid offensive performance.
Katelynn Flack laid down a bunt in the first inning and reached third base on a Valencia throwing error. Erika Bradley then walked, and Jordan Curry drove both Flak and Bradley in with a base hit.
“We came out attacking with the bats right away,” said FHS head coach Johnny Curry. “We took advantages of their errors and didn't look back. The girls just wanted to win and get past this first game so bad. They did it. They played with a lot of confidence and faith in their abilities and believed they could win this game.”
Jordan Curry finished the game 4-for-5 with three singles and a home run. She had four RBIs.
Cheyenne Cochran was also 4-for-5 at the plate with three singles, a double and two RBIs.
Jordan Curry pitched for Farmington High, striking out eight Lady Jaguars.
Johnny Curry was happy to see Jordan pitch a solid game before the three-day run for state. He believes he has a solid combo with her and Sicily Villano, both of whom are capable of pitching at a high level.
“It is like the old basketball adage. If you want to get to state, you need a point guard and a big man to go all the way. Having two pitchers is like having a couple of point guards,” Johnny Curry said. “That is something teams have to have to go all the way. You need either a really strong pitcher or two who can get the job done.”
FHS will play No. 3 Gallup on Thursday morning in Rio Rancho. The Lady Scorps have already beaten the Lady Bengals 4-0 earlier this year on March 29.
“Our girls are confident. They have had a lot of confidence since our games with Kirtland Central. They realize what they can do and are performing well,” Johnny Curry said.
No. 3 Bloomfield 10, No. 14 Sandia Prep 0
Bloomfield had no problem taking care of business against Sandia Prep at home on Saturday.
The Lady Bobcats ran through Sandia Prep 10-0 behind Chelsey Runyon's 2-for-3 day at the plate, which included a two-run home run and a triple.
“It was a great day. It was a big deal for our six seniors to host their last home game on our field in the state tournament. It is nice to do that and come away with a big win,” said Bloomfield head coach Andi Clark.
Jasmine Sappington was also 2-for-3 at the plate for Bloomfield in the win.
Rebecca Sappington pitched the Lady Bobcats to a win. She allowed four hits while striking out six and walking just two.
“On my account, we had only one error in the game on a ball just off a glove,” Clark said. “We have taken our errors from eight to 10 a game to one. When we do that and our bats come through, that is what we really need.”
Bloomfield will play No. 5 St. Michael's in the next round of the state tournament on Thursday.
Clark said she has yet to see St. Michael's play, but she is confident the Lady Bobcats are ready to make a run at a state title.
“The girls will enjoy this win the next few days and get ready to work hard Monday before we head out Wednesday to accomplish our goal,” Clark said.
John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.