AZTEC – The Aztec softball team is the District 1-5A champion for the second year in a row.
The Lady Tigers wrapped up the title, and an undefeated district schedule Friday, sweeping Farmington 12-0 and 13-0 at the Aztec Tiger Sports Complex.
“They’ve grown together a lot and learned to trust each other, that’s the biggest thing,” Aztec head coach Roy Johnson said of the Lady Tigers’ progression this season. “They make plays now that at the beginning of the year they were reluctant to make because they didn’t trust each other. Now they believe, whoever’s in the circle, we’re going to win.”
Aztec's Paige Adair delivered her usual dominating performance in the pitcher’s circle in the first game. After walking Farmington’s KK Blackwood to lead off the game, the junior retired the next 15 batters, striking out 13 along the way.
CheyAnne Simkins took the circle for Aztec (21-5, 8-0) in the second game and gave up two hits while striking out seven.
In both games, the Lady Scorps (5-21, 0-8) struggled to find the strike zone, walking 13 batters in the first game then eight batters in the second game.
Farmington head coach Tim Trotter said he wasn’t sure if pitchers Makayla Donald and Kiesha Jim were intimidated by the Lady Tigers or if they simply had an off day.
“The same two girls threw against (Piedra Vista) and have been throwing for us all season. We’ve had some issues, but throwing strikes hasn’t been one of them,” Trotter said. “But the cool this is, Kiesha turned around and stepped up, and that’s a good thing to see going into the summer and next season and the future.”
Adair and Ashlynn Bradley paced Aztec’s offense. Adair finished the day with four RBIs while Bradley drove in three.
Blackwood, one of Farmington’s two seniors, recorded her team’s two hits — both in the second game.
The two losses likely end Farmington’s season, unless the Lady Scorps are given a gift by the state selection committee.
“You always feel bad for the seniors. I have two great seniors (Blackwood and Emily Frias), and it’s always hard to have a down season for them. You want them to have a good season,” Trotter said.
Aztec, on the other hand, is eyeing the No. 1 seed in the 5A state tourney.
“This week, we were ranked No. 1 in the coaches’ poll and Maxpreps, and we didn’t do anything to tarnish that,” Johnson said. “For us to drop anywhere less than No. 1 would be amazing to me.”
Piedra Vista 7, Miyamura 3
Miyamura 4, Piedra Vista 3
One of the biggest issues for Piedra Vista this season has been inconsistency at the plate, and that was what hurt the Lady Panther (17-8, 5-3) against Miyamura (18-7, 5-3) Friday in Gallup.
During the first game of its doubleheader, PV executed the game plan for a 7-3 victory, but then struggled to put the ball in play during a 4-3 loss in the second game.
“We’ve been really inconstant with our approach at the plate. We saw the same girl (Monique Ashley) in both games, and you’d think the more we’d see her, the better we’d get, but it seemed like the more we saw her, the worse we got,” PV head coach Kevin Werth said. “Probably 90 percent of our outs in the second game were popups or strikeouts.”
PV and Miyamura finished tied in the district standings, but PV won the tiebreaker on run differential to take second.
Werth added that he believes the issue is coaching, saying he doesn’t think he is doing a good enough job getting the Lady Panthers ready for doubleheaders.
Werth said senior lefty Tyra Garcia had a good day at the plate, batting .500 on the day.
Aleja Armenta got the win in the circle in the first game, and Ananda Delegarito took the loss in the second. Werth said he thought both girls pitched well enough to win.
PV now waits to learn its seed in the state tournament, and Werth said he thinks the Lady Panthers will fall in the No. 4 or 5 seed.
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.