FARMINGTON— The North team's girls couldn't have asked for a better way to end their high school softball careers, dominating the South 8-0 in game three of the 2014 New Mexico North/South Class 4A/5A Softball All-Star Series at the Farmington Sports Complex Saturday morning to win the series 2-1.
After the North cruised to a 12-5 win in game one of the series the South answered with an 8-6 victory in game two of Friday night's doubleheader to even the series.
After a scoreless first inning during Saturday's action, Valley High's Bayley Legarreta got the North's offense started with a solo shot over the left field wall with two outs in the top of the second inning.
In the bottom of the second, the North defense made quick work of the South's lineup, retiring the side, and the North looked to carry the momentum from the second inning into the top of the third.
After the South took care of the North's first two batters in the third, Cibola's Jasmine Mitchell singled up the middle to keep the inning going.
Volcano Vista's Jade Gray, who reached base in the first after a ground ball got past South third baseman Destiny Pimbley, stepped into the box, giving the North dugout hopes of a two-out rally.
With the count 1-1 Gray swung on the pitch and drove the ball over the fence in left-center to make it 3-0 in favor of the North.
In the top of the fifth inning, the North added to its lead when St. Pius X's Kaitlyn Archibeque drove in two more runs with a single to left to make it 5-0.
After Archibeque's single, the North was looking to blow the game open with runners on the corners and only one out, but the South was able to regain control and get out of the inning without any further damage.
The South looked poised to respond to the North's two-runs in the top of the fifth a couple runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
With one out and runners on the corners, Carlsbad's Hailee Harris stepped to the plate and hit a hard grounder to Cibola's Hannah Clark at third base. After eying Las Cruces' Olivia Ruiz, who was on third, back to the base Clark fired to first for the force out. When Clark made her move to first Ruiz made her dash to home, but was unable to slide under the tag as the North completed the 5-3-2 inning-ending double play.
The North added three more runs in the top of the seventh inning when Kiana Zerr of Los Alamos blasted a three-run shot over the left field wall to make it 8-0.
Following the game, Mitchell was named MVP of the North squad after going 3-4 and scoring two runs Saturday to finish the series 7-for-10 at the plate while driving in six runs.
"It's a good feeling. I actually thought Bayley (Legarreta) was going to get it because she did so well, but there are a lot of good players on this team and it honestly could have been anyone," Mitchell said.
Another candidate for the MVP honors was Albuquerque High's pitcher Chantel Purcella, who dominated the South's lineup Saturday, allowing just two hits and gave up one walk in five innings pitched.
"It felt great," Purcella said of her performance. "I felt really confident because I knew I had a good defense behind me. It was a good experience and a good time."
The series win and the MVP honors were enough to make the weekend worth the trip for Mitchell, who initially planned of foregoing the All-Star weekend.
"I leave to college next month, and I wasn't going to come," said Mitchell, who will attend school at West Virginia University. "But I wanted to get the chance to sort of play one last time with my Cibola jersey on and just play with the girls I played with in Albuquerque and played club ball with in the past. It's just a good experience."
Carlsbad's Shaylynn Rostro was awarded MVP honors for the South.