Aztec blasts PV 11-0 before rain stops play

Karl Schneider
Aztec's Kylie Brown hits a home run against Piedra Vista on April 8 at the Farmington Sports Complex.

FARMINGTON – The Aztec-Piedra Vista softball rivalry was put on hold after a rain storm hit the area Friday night.

The two rivals began their District 1-5A doubleheader with Aztec crushing the Lady Panthers 11-0 at the Farmington Sports Complex.

The second game began similarly to the first with Aztec jumping to a 2-0 lead after Paige Adair and Jocelyn Ulrich hit back-to-back solo home runs with two outs in the top of the first.

But as PV began to steal the momentum in the bottom of the inning — getting a single from Katie Jensen and an RBI triple from Nykki Benally — the rain began to fall harder and harder.

The wet conditions became a major factor in the next at-bat, when Adair struggled to grip the ball, reaching for a towel tucked into the waist of her pants to dry her hand between every pitch, before walking Aleja Armenta.

“As a pitcher, all your stuff is determined by your grip on the ball, and if you can’t grip it, it makes it bad,” Aztec head coach Roy Johnson said.

Following Armenta’s free pass, the umpires called a rain delay, and within a few minutes of the initial delay, they called the game completely, to the satisfaction of both coaches.

“It’s one of those things where it’s about keeping the kids safe,” PV head coach Kevin Werth said. “I was kind of getting worried out there, thinking, ‘Man, how long are they going to let this thing go?’ because it was getting bad. The safety of the kids needs to come first.”

Piedra Vista's Autumn Begay tries to turn a double play after getting Aztec's CheyAnne Simkins out at second base on Friday at the Farmington Sports Complex.

Aztec (16-5, 3-0) dominated the first game, racking up 14 hits in the five innings of action while Adair held the Lady Panthers (12-6, 0-1) to three hits.

“Facing a good pitcher, I think we were too passive against her. When you’re passive against a kid like that, you’re going to struggle,” Werth said of the Lady Panthers’ performance against Adair. “That’s definitely something we’re going to have to fix before the second game.”

Aztec got its bats going immediately, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning with an RBI double from Adair then a two-out, two-run home run from Kylie Brown, to make it 3-0.

Aztec added one run in the second, then exploded in the third, sending 10 batters to the plate and scoring five runs.

After a lead-off home run from Adair to center field, Brown belted her second two-run homer of the game.

“We talked about squaring the ball up, being patient, hit it as hard as you can and see what happens,” Johnson said.

Breanna Watkins and CheyAnne Simkins drove in a run each before the inning ended with a score of 9-0.

The Lady Tigers added two more runs in the fourth, getting RBIs from Ashlynn Bradley and Ashlee Garcia.

The Lady Tigers also made all the plays they needed to in the field, including a great running catch by Trinity Pollock in left field that seemed to take the last breath out of PV.

“Anybody can make the routine play, and we talked about, if we’re going to make it our game, someone has to make a great play. Trinity Pollock made a catch in left field — that was

awesome,” Johnson said.

Aztec's Trinity Pollock catches a fly ball in left field during an April 7 game at the Farmington Sports Complex.

The two coaches hope to have the second game Friday’s doubleheader rescheduled for next week, if the weather allows. But neither coach is certain if the game will pick back up in the bottom of the first, with one out and runners on the corners for PV, or start over.

The coaches are waiting for a representative of the New Mexico Activities Association to determine how the game will resume.

“No matter how it gets determined, it will be a good game,” Johnson said. “It’s always a good game and good high school softball — probably the best in the state.”

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