With the first round of the both baseball and softball state championship games completed, five of the six team from Eddy County are still in the hunt for state titles.
The Carlsbad Cavemen and Cavegirls, Artesia Bulldogs and Lady Bulldogs and the Loving Lady Falcons head to the Duke City area in the hopes of bringing back a Blue Trophy.
Here's what to look for this week in Albuquerque at the Santa Ana Star Field on UNM's campus for baseball and at Rio Rancho Cleveland High for softball.
How to follow live:
USA Today Network Sports Reporters from New Mexico will be in Albuquerque this week to chronicle all the action. For baseball follow Jason Groves (@JPGroves) and Matt Hollinshad (@MattH_717); and the Current-Argus’ Matthew (@Caveman_Masher) will be at the softball tournament.
State title No. 17?
Both the Carlsbad Cavegirls and Loving Lady Falcons are tied for the most state softball titles with 16. Can either or both teams add another state title?
In Class 5A, the No. 2 Carlsbad Cavegirls are on a nine-year drought without a state title. The Cavegirls last won a Blue Trophy in softball in 2010. Current head coach John Tigert has been in the championship game 17 times and won his first state title with the Cavegirls back in 1980.
In Class 2A, No. 2 Loving has been to the championship round 10 of the last 12 years and is looking for its first title since 2014. Kendra Granado is seeking her first state title in her second season as Loving's head coach. Both she and assistant coach Vance McDonald are in their third season with the program.
Carlsbad (20-5) will face the No. 10 Rio Rancho Cleveland Storm (13-11) at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday at softball field No. 4.
The Lady Falcons face the No. 15 Native American Community Academy Lady Eagles (8-7) from Albuquerque first. First pitch is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Wednesday May 15 at softball field No. 4.
Can the Lady Dogs repeat?
Artesia won last year's Class 5A crown and will look to repeat as champions, this time in Class 4A. Artesia (22-4) is the No. 1 team in 4A and currently ranked No. 3 in all of New Mexico behind Rio Rancho and Carlsbad.
Last season, Artesia's offense outscored its opponents 71-18 (3.9 times more runs) throughout the state tournament, including a 26-2 pasting over Farmington in the final two games of the tournament.
This season the Lady Bulldogs have outscored their opponents 242-59 (4.1 times more runs). Five Lady Bulldogs have scored at least 30 runs apiece and freshman pitcher Rylee Crandall has led her team in the circle, going 18-1 with an ERA of 0.68.
Artesia faces the No. 8 Valencia Lady Jaguars (15-12) at 8:30 a.m. on Thursday at field No. 1.
Can the underdog Cavemen stop the Hawks?
Carlsbad currently has 14 seniors on its roster and is three years removed from its last baseball state title so a few seniors did play on the last championship team. However, Carlsbad has the No. 9 seed in 5A and will not have an easy road to the championship game.
Carlsbad (21-8) is the second-lowest seeded team left in 5A (Farmington is No. 13) and will have to face No. 1 Volcano Vista (22-5) in the quarterfinals. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Two years ago Carlsbad head coach Alan Edmonson won his first baseball state title coaching Goddard. He's currently 1-3 in championship games, all with the Rockets.
First time in their lives?
Artesia may be one of the more dominant football programs in New Mexico with 30 state titles, but the same can't be said for its baseball program. The Bulldogs have been to the state championship game eight times and are 6-2.
However, Artesia hasn't played in a baseball state championship game since 2000, more than a year before any of the current Bulldogs were born.
The Bulldogs come in with the No. 3 ranking in 4A and swept Valencia in the opening round to advance to Albuquerque. Artesia (19-9) will face No. 6 Santa Teresa (12-5) at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
Matthew Asher can be reached at 575-628-5524, email@example.com or @Caveman_Masher on Twitter.