Postseason runs come to an end for Piedra Vista and Aztec High

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The Aztec High School baseball and softball teams saw their postseason runs come to an end this weekend in Class 4A tournament action. 

Meantime, the Piedra Vista High School softball season also came to a halt in the Class 5A state tournament.

Here's a roundup of this weekend's New Mexico Activities Association's tournament action on the diamonds.

Baseball

ALBUQUERQUE ACADEMY 4, Aztec 3

The Aztec High School baseball team saw their season come to an end Friday night at the Santa Ana Star Field at the University of New Mexico, as they lost to Albuquerque Academy by a final of 4-3 in the Class 4A state semifinals.

Aztec jumped out to a 3-0 lead after the top of the first inning, thanks to a 2-RBI double by Elijah Wyatt which scored Isaiah Sanchez and Ryan Ray. Kaleb Thornburg also drove in a run, scoring Camron McNeal.

Wyatt's hit was significant for more than just in-game statistics. His 21st double of the season broke the state record for that category, eclipsing Hope Christian's Brant Dietz, who set the mark in 2011.

The Chargers began to chip away at the Tigers lead, scoring a run in the third and fourth innings, then getting the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning when Dominic Baca drove in a pair of runs on a single to right field, scoring Henry Mitchell and Devan Johnson.

Senior pitcher Andrew Harrod did the rest from the mound. After the shaky first inning, Harrod settled in nicely, surrendering only seven hits and allowing one walk while striking out 10 Aztec batters for the complete game victory.

Aztec wrapped up their season with a record of 22-9, which includes a 9-1 mark in District 1-4A play for first-year Tigers coach Eli Wyatt.

"We always said we'd strive for the best, but this was a very special season," Wyatt said. "I think we're all real pleased with how the season went from an individual and team effort."

Softball

PIEDRA VISTA 10, Hobbs 3

CENTENNIAL 2, Piedra Vista 0

The Piedra Vista High School softball team, facing elimination in a pair of games on Friday afternoon, blew open a close game with three runs in both fifth and sixth innings on their way to a 10-3 win over Hobbs in consolation round action of the Class 5A tournament at Cleveland High School.

The ninth-seeded Panthers, who lost their opening game of the tournament on Thursday by a final of 2-1 to top-seeded Carlsbad, stay alive in the double elimination tournament with the win over Hobbs, but still needed to win twice before a potential championship rematch against Carlsbad. The Cavemen swept their way into the state finals after beating fourth-seeded La Cueva by a final of 10-0 before outscoring third-seeded Alamogordo 9-7 on Friday.

The Panthers and Eagles exchanged runs in the first and second innings, with the score tied at 2 before Piedra Vista took the lead for good in the top half of the third inning, thanks to a 2-run home run by Lanae Billy that gave the Panthers a 4-2 lead. 

Piedra Vista's Lanae Billy hits a homerun in the top of the third inning against Hobbs in the consolation bracket on Friday, May 13, 2022 at Cleveland High School.

Hobbs scored a run in the bottom of the third, but that was as close as the Eagles would get as the pitching combination of Emma Lovato and Akaysia Grogan teamed up for 13 strikeouts to preserve the win.

"The girls really stepped up in a big way," said head coach Kevin Werth. "They knew what they were facing and kept rising up to the challenge."

Billy drove in three runs in the victory while Adryanna Snyder and Ajah Charlie each scored a pair of runs.

The loss put an end to the Hobbs season, who finish with a record of 19-11.

Later on Friday, again facing elimination, the Panthers came up short, losing to Centennial High by a final of 2-0 in a pitchers duel that saw the two starting pitchers for 22 strikeouts.

Caprice Barela threw a complete game shutout for the Hawks, allowing only two hits and one walk while striking out seven in a winning effort that kept Centennial's season going.

Amanda Valles went 2-for-2 at the plate and hit a solo home run with two out in the bottom of the fourth inning that opened the scoring in the game. The Hawks added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth when Gianna Villegas drove in Valles to preserve the win.

Lovato again threw a gem from the circle, striking out 15 batters and allowing only six hits. 

"At the end of the day, we had chances to get to (Barela), but we just couldn't manufacture a run," Werth said following the loss. 

The Panthers finish the season with a record of 20-11, which was a notable feat, as the team finished with 20 wins for the first time since 2016.

"That's the real testament of this club," Werth said. "The quality of softball in the area and the work these girls put in. It's been a real successful season even though we didn't get to see it all the way through."

VALLEY 12, Aztec 0 (5 innings)

The Aztec High School softball season came to an end Friday at Cleveland High School as the ninth-seeded Valley Vikings eliminated the Tigers 12-0 in consolation round action of the Class 4A state tournament.

Valley scored five times in the first inning before extending their lead to 9-0 after three innings as the Tigers managed only five hits in the run-rule loss.

Aztec's Tiahnna Phillips makes contact with the ball for a single in the bottom of the fifth inning during the consolation round against Valley on Friday, May 13, 2022 at Cleveland High School.

Maria Elena Baca hit a home run, while Jerzey Gutierrez did damage at the plate and in the circle, driving in four runs with a double and a triple, as well as striking out three batters and surrendering only three baserunners in the win.

The Tigers season comes to an end with a record of 19-11.

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.