Bloomfield outscores Gallup 34-8 in doubleheader
FARMINGTON – Piedra Vista softball coach Kevin Werth asked senior Aleja Armenta to step up before the season began, and she's done nothing but comply thus far.
Armenta went 3 for 3 and drove in three runs on Thursday while allowing just five hits and earning the win as the starting pitcher in Piedra Vista's 11-1 win over Valencia at the Farmington Sports Complex.
"I can't say enough about Aleja," Werth said. "We had some changes in the off-season, and I went to her and said, 'Hey, you're a senior. This is going to be your club. You're going to be the No. 1 (pitcher).'"
Armenta's defense was crisp behind her Thursday, committing only one error. PV played what Werth called "a clean game," and didn't strike out at all from the plate. The Lady Panthers (11-4) were aggressive early on with four hits in the first two innings, but they didn't get on the scoreboard until the third.
PV had faced Valencia (6-10) starting pitcher Amber Baca a handful of times dating back to last year, so Werth said he knew if his girls could remain focused, they would get to her the second time around.
"We had to make her throw. And we knew we had to hit it hard when she gave us pitches to hit," Werth said. "We squared up on some balls today, which is nice."
The Lady Panthers broke the game open in the sixth inning by scoring five runs to end the game early. Cheyenne Stark was right in the middle of the rally with a three-run home run to dead center field. At the time of PV's 11th and final run, there were no outs in the bottom of the sixth.
Katie Jensen went 3 for 3 and scored twice for PV. The Lady Panthers managed 13 hits in the game.
PV hits the road today to take on Volcano Vista (13-2) at 3 p.m. and Valley (9-5) at 5 p.m in Albuquerque.
Bloomfield 13, Gallup 5
Bloomfield 21, Gallup 3
Typically a small ball-type of team, the Lady Bobcats unleashed some serious offensive firepower during Thursday's road doubleheader against Gallup (4-9).
Bloomfield won the first game 13-5 and made sure the second game was called in the sixth inning by hammering Gallup 21-3.
Thalia O'Neil continued to impress as a two-way player for Bloomfield (9-4), crushing a two-run, inside-the-park home run in the first game while earning both wins from the circle.
O'Neil walked just two batters over two games. Bloomfield coach Andi Clark said if there is one weakness in O'Neil's pitching this year, it is her tendency to issue too many free passes. But Clark thinks that issue might be resolved.
"Lately, she's figured out that she wasn't really finishing pitches, and was cutting her arm short and not following through," Clark said. "Now, she's like, 'I know what I'm doing.' Two walks, that's cut down tremendously from what she had been doing."
Leadoff hitter Katie Nelson was a tough out on Thursday with nine hits in her 11 at-bats. Kristen Espinosa went 5 for 6 in the second game, which Bloomfield ended prematurely by scoring 12 runs in the sixth.
The Lady Bobcats get a week off before hosting Wingate (7-6) in a doubleheader on Thursday. Those games will be Bloomfield's first district contests of the season.
Shiprock 10, Magdalena 1
Shiprock got a measure of revenge on the first day of the Thoreau Hawk Tournament by beating Magdalena 10-1 after falling to the Steers (0-5) in the same tournament last year.
Pedro Tom and Cameron Phillips spearheaded a four-run, first-inning rally and the Chieftains (9-1) never looked back on Thursday.
Dylan Begay has been a strikeout machine so far this season, and he punched out 10 Magdalena hitters on his way to a complete-game victory.
Shiprock coach Alfred Baer said his team was great in every facet, especially pitching the ball.
"We outperformed them in every aspect," Baer said. "They couldn't hit (Dylan). His stuff was a little too much for them."
Shiprock plays Laguna Acoma (6-1) at 3 p.m. today on the second afternoon of the tourney.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.