FARMINGTON – The Aztec girls softball team sent an emphatic message at the FHS Invitational over the weekend.
After scoring 32 combined runs over two wins on Friday, the Lady Tigers dismantled Santa Fe 14-0 and Farmington 16-0 on Saturday at the Rickets Park softball fields to improve to 10-3 on the young season.
CheyAnn Simkins went 2 for 2 with a home run against FHS, the same game in which Jocelyn Ulrich hit a three-run homer, her fourth in two days.
"We knew that Jocelyn would be a great hitter when she was young," Aztec coach Roy Johnson said. "When the ball's not in her zone, she'll hit it up the middle. If it's in her zone, she can hit it as far as any girl in the country."
Aztec, which finished 4-0 at the FHS Invite, only needed three innings of work to trigger the mercy rule against Farmington (2-9).
Laurie Fentiman was the pitcher for the Lady Scorps, and FHS coach Tim Trotter said he knew she would be in for a tough test. He said he told her to try and remain confident.
"(Aztec) can swing it, we knew that. Really, we just wanted to keep (Laurie) positive," Trotter said. "She never got down. She continued to work through it. That's really all we can ask for."
Paige Adair threw three scoreless innings for Aztec and only allowed one hit. Adair also hit a home run in the game. She said she believes Aztec is going to be a force this year, and she doesn't see the team slowing down.
"We're focused. We put the work in, for sure," Adair said. "At every practice, there's someone always working on the tee, always getting soft toss — doing something. We're just very focused. We have our minds on one thing, and that's winning."
Farmington 14, Navajo Prep 4
Hope Christian 14, Navajo Prep 4
The Lady Scorps didn't finish off their home tournament on the highest of notes, but they did take care of business against Navajo Prep (6-4) as part of a Saturday doubleheader, downing the Lady Eagles 14-4.
It took FHS two times through the lineup to get going. They came through in the third inning with a six-run rally and cruised from there.
Farmington senior KK Blackwood was 5 for 6 on the day and 4 for 4 with three runs scored against the the Lady Eagles. Tiara Vigil was also 4 for 4 in the second game.
Eighth-grade pitcher Makayla Donald gave FHS every chance to win from the mound and earned the win.
"We made some plays behind Makayla, and then the bats got going the second or third time through," Trotter said. "We overcame some mistakes with the bats a little bit and were able to produce runs."
Just as the third inning did Navajo Prep in against Farmington, it was one big inning from Hope Christian that sealed Prep's fate in the second game.
The Lady Eagles fell behind 4-0 against Hope, only to fight back and make it 4-3 through three behind a two-RBI single from Harlei Haceesa.
But after scraping across three runs in the fourth inning, the Lady Huskies (3-2) broke the game wide open in the fifth with seven runs.
"We made some mental mistakes. A couple of fly balls were mishandled out in left field," Lady Eagles coach Bryan Heaston said. "I think our young team got a little bit tired with four games in 24 hours. We kind of hit a wall."
Prep's Kyra Cadman went 2 for 3 with a run scored in the second loss.
The Lady Eagles received some unfortunate news when they learned that catcher and captain Gabrielle Noon suffered a broken ankle during Friday's doubleheader and will be out indefinitely.
Kirtland Central 14, Santa Fe 4
Hope Christian 6, Kirtland Central 5
Kirtland Central (5-7) finished the FHS Invitational with a 2-2 record after splitting its doubleheader on Saturday.
KC's 6-5 loss to Hope was neck and neck, to the point where the Lady Broncos put the tying runner on third in the bottom of the seventh inning before making the final out.
"I think they just had a few more keys hits than we did," KC coach Cody Gilmore said. "They came through with girls in scoring position a bit more than we did."
The Lady Broncos took their frustrations out on Santa Fe (1-9) in their second game, brushing off a 2-0 second-inning deficit to trounce the Lady Demons 14-4.
KC scored five runs in the bottom of the fourth and was led by Dominique McGilbert, who went 4 for 4 with three RBI and three runs scored. Mariah Bileen chipped in with three RBI. She went 3 for 4 from the dish.
Gilmore came away from the invite pleased with his team's results.
"We battled with Hope in the first game today, and I can see them being one of the top 3 or 4 teams in 4A," he said. "Overall, it was a good weekend. We learned some things."
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577