Playoff openers full of intrigue, familiar matchups

Matt Hollinshead,

Upset alert?

Kirtland Central’s bats can do just that when the Broncos travel to Santa Teresa (19-5) in the 4A playoff series opener, which starts at 7 p.m. Thursday.

A rough stretch of limited contact at the plate resulted in a three-game losing streak to close out April, and perhaps cost them a chance to host a playoff series, KC (13-8) got back on track in the district finale at Bloomfield.

The Broncos set the tone fast by crushing the ball deep four times. The first of which occurred just moments into the game, as Cochise Sorrelhorse hit the first of his two solo shots in the top of the first inning. Dionte Yazzie and Cadan Flack later added two-run home runs.

The timing couldn’t have been better for Kirtland to restore its power-hitting prowess, as they’ll travel about 450 miles south to take on a Santa Teresa squad that’s won 14 straight games entering the playoffs.

Kirtland Central's Ethan Yazzie hits a double against Shiprock during a District 1-4A game on Thursday, April 11 at KCHS. The No. 11 Broncos will play at No. 6 Santa Teresa in this weekend's 4A playoff opener.

Piedra Vista hosts Sandia, again

The Panthers (18-8) ousted the Matadors (13-13) in last year’s playoff opener, in front of the home crowd. The two sides will do battle again starting at 4 p.m. Friday, at Ricketts Park yet again.

PV largely stressed situational hitting and smart base-running in 2018, but is now winning games hitting for power and doing so in clutch, late-inning moments.

Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.