4A state softball: Bloomfield finishes second after 8-3 loss to Silver in championship game
RIO RANCHO — Bloomfield punched its ticket to the 4A softball finals with a 9-6 win over Cobre, but again the No. 1 Lady Bobcats couldn't get past No. 2 Silver, falling to the Lady Colts 8-3 in the finals at the Rio Rancho Softball Complex Saturday.
"It was a great season," Bloomfield head coach Andi Clark said. "Up until we lost against Silver (Friday), we hadn't lost a game since March 28. We had a great season. I couldn't have asked for a better season, and we ended up second, so I'm OK with that."
The Lady Bobcats were on fire at the plate against Cobre. But against Silver, their bats cooled a bit, and when they connected, there always seemed to be a Lady Colt there to make the out.
"I thought that game against Cobre was really going to bring us into this game (against Silver)," Clark said. "We had three home runs against Cobre. Two were from Chelsea Largo. But the bats just weren't as hot. Silver made good plays on good hits and took us out of what could've been game-changing scenarios."
The Lady Bobcats fell behind early, giving up three runs in the bottom of the first inning, but it could have been much worse, as Silver left three runners stranded.
Bloomfield answered in the top of the second with a two-run home run from Chelsea Runyon, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
But every time Bloomfield made a push, Silver responded. The Lady Colts tacked on two runs in the bottom of the second to make it 5-2. And when Bloomfield's Shayla Felix drove in a run in the top of the third, Silver matched it to make it 6-3.
Silver added two runs in the sixth, then retired the Lady Bobcats in order in the seventh to secure the win and the program's fifth straight title.
Earlier in the day against Cobre, the Lady Bobcats wasted no time getting on the board.
Junior Thalia O'Neil led off the top of the first inning with a double and came around to score on the next at-bat when Largo blasted a home run over the centerfield wall.
In the bottom half of the inning, Cobre threatened with a runner on third and only one out, but the Lady Bobcat defense did its part and got out of the inning with the 2-0 lead intact.
In the top of the second, O'Neil slugged a two-run homer to push the Bloomfield lead to 4-0. But in the bottom of the second, Cobre's Deidre Vega answered with a two-run home run of her own to put the Lady Indians on the board. Cobre looked poised to get a couple of more runs in the inning, getting two runners aboard with one away, but the Lady Bobcats turned a double play to get out of the inning.
Bloomfield stole the momentum back in the third. With runners on first and second, the Cobre right fielder came in and bobbled a short fly ball, but recovered to get the catch and the out. Runyon, who was on second, tagged and advanced to third, but was initially called out at second. After the umpires convened, the call was overturned. Runyon would go on to score to push the lead to 5-2.
Cobre answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring three to tie it at 5.
The score remained knotted until the fifth, when Largo beat out a slow roller for a two-out infield single, driving in a run to give the Lady Bobcats a 6-5 lead. The hustle play from Largo sparked the Lady Bobcats, who got two more runs across in the two-out rally to open an 8-5 lead.
Then, in the top of the seventh, Largo struck again, hitting a solo homer for the insurance run and making it 9-5 Bloomfield.
Cobre got a solo home run from Erika Ramos in the bottom of the seventh, but that was all the offense the Lady Indians would get.
The Lady Bobcats finished the season with a record of 25-7 and will say goodbye to five seniors — Largo, Felix, Runyon, Jasmine Sappington and Jessica Burnham.
"This season has just been amazing for me," Burnham said. "These coaches do so much for us, and my teammates are some of the best ever. Even when we're down, we pick each other up. Even after this, we're still all going to be there for each other. I came here three years ago not expecting to feel like this walking away from it. These girls really have a special place in my heart, and they'll always be there."