Bloomfield splits with KC, bags district title

Shiprock rolls past Wingate 14-1 and 10-2

Jake Newby

KIRTLAND – For the fourth straight year, the Bloomfield baseball team has conquered District 1-4A.

The Bobcats needed to split a road doubleheader at Kirtland Central High School on Thursday to claim another district crown and they did that, winning the first game 5-2 behind starting pitcher Chauncey White's gem. The day wasn't lost for Kirtland Central (16-10, 8-2 District 1-4A), though, as the Broncos snatched game two 4-2 to give KC coach Bryan Wardroup his first win over Bloomfield since he joined KC's staff three seasons ago.

He wasn't pleased with his team's effort in the second game, but Bloomfield coach Frank DeHoyos said he was proud of his team for taking care of business in game one.

"I'm super proud of the men for pulling out a district title. They busted their butts," DeHoyos said. "From where we started to where we are now, that's great."

White was spectacular for Bloomfield (16-10, 9-1), which is 9-3 in its last 12 games, striking out 10 batters and staying cool under pressure. He struck out KC's No. 3 hitter Zach Van Duren with only one out and runners on the corners in the third inning, before stranding Cameron Pinkerton at third base in the fourth after Pinkerton tripled with only one away.

Bloomfield's Brendon Charley is cheered on by teammates after scoring a run during a game against Kirtland Central on Thursday at Kirtland Central High School.

"You know, Chauncey's Chauncey. He went out and did what he always does," DeHoyos said.

Bloomfield leadoff man Rogelio Gonzales provided a spark in the first game by going 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored. He kick-started a three-run rally in the fifth inning to provide the Bobcats with some much-needed breathing room. A Bronco error contributed to the breakthrough inning for the Bobcats, as did a two-RBI base knock by Orlando Frias.

Wardroup said the sloppy top half of the fifth inning marred game one for his team.

"What I feel like honestly hurt us the most in that inning is the passed ball that put runners on second and third," he said. "Because then on the base hit by (Frias), you score two runs instead of what should have been one."

Randon Blindman took the hill for KC in game two, and the senior was impressive with eight strikeouts and just two earned runs over six innings of work. Wardroup said his game ball went to Blindman, but called the win a quintessential team victory.

"We had courtesy runners taking bases, guys in the dugout keeping everybody pumped up; that was just the epitome of a team win," he said. "The defense behind Randon was awesome today. We did so many things to put ourselves in position to win."

Blindman helped himself out with an RBI single in the first, and Bryson Dowdy followed suit to give KC a first-inning lead, one it would not relinquish. Dowdy helped the Broncos win with a pair of RBI singles and two stolen bases in the game.

Kirtland Central's Cameron Pinkerton prepares to make a catch during a game against Bloomfield on Thursday at Kirtland Central High School.

Frias struck again with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, but Blindman would escape the frame with a one-run lead, and Dowdy would close the game out in the seventh.

DeHoyos credited Blindman for holding the Bobcats down, but thought his team failed to bring the effort in game two, especially at the plate.

"This late in the season, we shouldn't be swinging at pitches above our eyes or 6 inches out. It was a lack of discipline," he said. "The effort and attitude just wasn't there. The baseball gods will get you when you don't do it the right way, and we didn't get breaks because we didn't do things the right way."

The Bobcats and Broncos will wait and see where they land in the first round of the state tournament when brackets are released at 4 p.m. Sunday.

Shiprock 14, Wingate 1

Shiprock 10, Wingate 2

Unlike its District 1-4A rivals, Shiprock's season did not come to a close on Thursday, as the Chieftains (20-4, 7-3 District 1-4A) blasted Wingate 14-1 and 10-2 ahead of today's season finale versus San Juan, Utah.

Aarwin Chee was called up to Shiprock's varsity squad for the first game against the Bears (8-14, 4-6) on Thursday, and he did not disappoint, striking out 11 batters and earning the win. Shiprock coach Alfred Baer said he liked what he saw out of the sophomore.

"We wanted to rest some arms to prepare for San Juan and give Aarwin some experience," he said. "I thought he threw well. He'll probably stick with us."

Zander Dale went 6 for 6 on the day with two RBI and three runs scored. The Shiprock bats have managed at least eight runs in six straight games.

The Chieftains host the same San Juan (11-9, 3-7) team that beat them 9-3 on March 19.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.