Bloomfield, Aztec cruise at Rio Rancho tourney

Karl Schneider, and Jake Newby
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON – The Bloomfield softball team may be rounding into form quicker than coach Andi Clark expected.

The Lady Bobcats (6-3) mauled Roswell 8-0 in the first round of the Kristin Griego Tournament in Rio Rancho on Thursday. After committing 10 errors in a game against Kirtland Central less than two weeks ago, Bloomfield played an error-free game against Roswell.

Bloomfield lost five seniors to graduation and has been shuffling its defensive players around to try and find the combination that gives it the best chance to win. Clark said it's a work in progress, but Thursday was a definite step in the right direction.

"It feels really good to see the girls limit mistakes like that," she said.

Thalia O'Neil walked one batter and allowed two hits in a dominant effort. After a bit of a down year last year, Clark said O'Neil's looking more and more like she did during her lights-out sophomore season.

"She's back," Clark said. "She's pitching like she did two years ago; I can see it in the movement of her pitches."

Bloomfield will play either Valencia or Lovington today in the second round of the tournament.

Aztec 15, Cleveland JV 0

Aztec took care business in its first round game of the Kristin Griego Tournament in Rio Rancho, cruising past Cleveland’s junior varsity team 15-0 in three innings Thursday.

CheyAnn Simkins picked up the win for the Lady Tigers, striking out five of the nine batters she faced, and belted a home run to pace the offense.

Aztec (12-3) will play Belen (5-5) at 11 a.m. today. If the Lady Tigers get past Belen, they’ll play again at 3 p.m.

“We tell the girls that they need to step up their game each game because each game is going to be a little tougher,” Aztec head coach Roy Johnson said. “We’ll play Goddard ... and we’ll likely end up playing Hobbs, if we beat (Goddard), and (Hobbs) is undefeated. We’ll get into some competition that we haven’t seen, but that’s why we’re down here.”

Johnson said Simkins will start the game against Belen, and he plans to pitch Paige Adair in the afternoon game.

Carlsbad 13, Farmington 0

Farmington (1-10) got off to a rough start at the Kristin Griego Tournament, falling to Carlsbad 13-0 Thursday in Rio Rancho.

Farmington is now placed in Pool A and will play Artesia (3-4) at 9 a.m., then Lovington (3-5) at 1 p.m. today.

Farmington head coach Tim Trotter could not be reached for comment.

Hobbs 12, Shiprock 2

An eight-run, fourth-inning explosion from an unbeaten Hobbs team was more than enough to send Shiprock (3-5) packing into pool play on Thursday in Rio Rancho.

Starting pitcher Shelbie Little couldn't hit her spots for Shiprock, and the defense committed five errors. The opening-round rout in the Kristin Griego Tournament means Shiprock will play Cleveland's junior varsity team at 9 a.m. today.

Shiprock coach Levi Toledo said he wasn't sure what was wrong with his team against Hobbs (6-0).

"Maybe it was the long trip. I'm not sure," he said. "We made a lot of errors that we don't normally make."

Briana Littlecrow and Danyel Johnson drove in one run apiece in the loss.

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

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.