Navajo Prep, Aztec baseball teams earn district championships

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Postseason berths were on the line Thursday afternoon on baseball and softball fields across San Juan County.

With seedings to be announced on Sunday for the New Mexico Activities Association state tournament, the final days of the regular season take on greater significance.

Here's a recap of all the action on the base paths Thursday afternoon.

Baseball

NAVAJO PREP 13, Zuni 1

NAVAJO PREP 10, Zuni 4

The Navajo Prep baseball team wasted little time in the opening game of a twin bill against Zuni, scoring five runs in the first and third innings on their way to a 13-1 victory over the Thunderbirds at Ricketts Park.

Dayton Yazzie put on a performance both on the mound and at the plate in the opening game of the doubleheader, driving in three runs and scoring twice in the blowout victory.

Navajo Prep's Michael Norwood singles to left field and drives in a run during the bottom of the first inning of a game against Zuni, Thursday, April 28, 2022 at Ricketts Park.

The Eagles were opportunistic on the base paths, stealing three bases and being aggressive when the ball was in play.

On the mound, Yazzie overcame some early trouble and threw a gem, striking out eight and allowing only one run to score while giving up only a walk and a hit batter over five innings.

In the nightcap, Daniel Yazzie earned the win, striking out three batters and scattering only three hits in five innings of work as the Eagles topped the Thunderbirds by a final of 10-4.

Dayton Yazzie drove in three runs while Jake Silago and Jacob Arviso each scored a pair of runs in the win.

Navajo Prep's Daniel Yazzie safely slides into second base on a stolen base ahead of a tag by Zuni's Nathan Sanchez during the bottom of the first inning of a game, Thursday, April 28, 2022 at Ricketts Park.

The wins for Navajo Prep complete a perfect run for the Eagles in District 1-3A competition, finishing off the campaign with an unblemished 8-0 record. Their record overall this season of 12-13 has them ranked 11th in Class 3A according to MaxPreps. The Eagles will wait for Sunday to find out their seeding for the state tournament and their first round opponent. 

The first round of the baseball state tournament is a best 2-of-3 series played at the higher seed's school and begins on Friday, May 6.

AZTEC 11, Gallup 5

The Aztec High School baseball team wrapped up the District 1-4A championship on Thursday, romping at home over Gallup by a final of 11-5.

The Tigers jumped on the Bengals early, leading 4-0 after two innings, thanks to big performances at the plate from Kale Watson and Ryan Ray, who combined for four runs scored and three RBIs.

Elijah Wyatt was on his game from the pitcher's mound, giving up only two runs on six hits while striking out five over five innings of work.

Ray came into the game in relief of Wyatt to finish off the contest as Aztec capped off the regular season with a record of 19-7 (9-1 district). 

For the Tigers, it's the first district championship since 2019, when they lost in the Class 4A quarterfinals to Albuquerque Academy

Ranked fifth in the state in Class 4A, the Tigers will learn more this Sunday night about their seeding and first opponent in the state tournament. 

The first round of the baseball state tournament is a best 2-of-3 series played at the higher seed's school and begins on Friday, May 6.

KIRTLAND CENTRAL 6, Bloomfield 5

The Kirtland Central baseball team wrapped up its regular season with a 6-5 win at home over the Bloomfield Bobcats.

Troy King was the winning pitcher for the Broncos, going 6 1/3 innings and striking out five. He surrendered 13 hits and five runs before turning the game over to Osai Garcia for the final two outs.

Bloomfield trailed 6-2 going into the seventh inning, but scored three times to close the gap before coming up short.

King was also solid at the plate for the Broncos, going 4-for-4 with a pair of RBI's. 

Bloomfield's offense came to life late in the game thanks to big efforts from Drew Perez, who recorded a single, double and triple with three RBI's, as well as D.J. Maes, who drove in a pair of runs as well.

The win finishes off a 13-12 season for the Broncos, who finish 4-6 in District 1-4A competition, while the Bobcats finish with an overall record of 14-11 (5-5 district).

Both teams will await Sunday night's NMAA announcement of state tournament seedings to see if they will advance to the postseason.

MIYAMURA 12, Shiprock 7

The Miyamura Patriots closed out their regular season on the road, outscoring Shiprock 12-7 in what will most likely be the final game of the season for the Chieftains.

Miyamura finishes the season with an overall record of 13-3, but with a solid mark of 8-2 in District 1-4A, just one game behind Aztec in the district standings.

The Patriots will learn on Sunday night if they'll advance to the Class 4A state tournament when seedings are announced by the NMAA.

Shiprock finishes the season with a record of 11-12 (3-7 district) and end the campaign with a four-game losing streak.

Softball

GALLUP 11, Aztec 1 (6 innings)

The Gallup High School softball team is one step closer to capping off a perfect District 1-4A campaign with a romping win at home Thursday afternoon over Aztec by a final of 11-1.

The game was close early, with the Bengals only leading 4-1 heading into the bottom of the sixth inning. Gallup scored seven runs to put the game on ice and clinching the district title in the process.

Morgan Belone was the star of the game at the plate for the Bengals, scoring a pair of runs and going 2-for-3 at the plate and driving in a pair of runs with a home run.

Meantime, pitcher Seniah Haines did the work from the circle, pitching a complete game and striking out seven while allowing only three walks and three hits over six innings.

Gallup is ranked second in the latest Class 4A softball rankings from MaxPreps, behind only Artesia, and will wrap up the regular season at home Friday against Shiprock.

The Class 4A softball tournament seedings will be announced on Sunday with first round action set to begin on Friday, May 6.

The Bengals will be looking to get back to the Class 4A state finals for the second year in a row. Last year, Gallup lost the Class 4A state title game to Artesia by a score of 4-0.

The Tigers loss snaps a six-game win streak and puts Aztec in a position where they may be on the road should they advance into the state tournament. Currently ranked seventh in Class 4A, the Tigers fall to 16-9 (8-2 district) and will await word from the NMAA seeding committee this Sunday.

MIYAMURA 15, Shiprock 0

The Miyamura High School softball team jumped all over Shiprock at home in their regular season finale, topping the Chieftains by a final score of 15-0.

The Patriots finish the season with a record of 13-13 (4-6 District 1-4A) while Shiprock falls to 1-19 overall (0-9 district). The Chieftains will close out their regular season Friday on the road against Gallup and then on Saturday on the road against Tohatchi.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.