Bloomfield to play Shiprock, KC and PV earn opening-round home games
FARMINGTON — For the first time in over 10 years, the Aztec softball team has earned a No. 1 seed in the state tournament.
Aztec, along with the rest of the state, learned its seed when the brackets were released on Sunday afternoon. The Lady Tigers mashed 27 home runs on their way to a 21-5 overall record and an 8-0 mark in District 1-5A. They'll play 16th-seeded Del Norte in 5A's opening round at 4 p.m. Friday at the Aztec Tigers Sports Complex.
First-year Lady Tigers coach Roy Johnson said his girls are ready to put their season on the line, and thinks they may play with a bit of a chip on their shoulders.
"We thought we deserved a No. 1 seed because of our body of work. We look forward to making the Aztec community proud," Johnson said. "It seems like, with the seeding committee talking all this about Centennial and Piedra Vista, that people think we're a one-hit wonder, so that's kind of interesting."
Aztec was last seeded first in 2005, the same year the Lady Tigers won a state title by defeating Farmington — then coached by Johnson — by a final score of 2-0.
Also in 5A, No. 4 Piedra Vista will face No. 13 Lovington at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Farmington Sports Complex.
District 1-4A rivals Bloomfield and Shiprock will go head to head for a third time this season, as coach Andi Clark's Lady Bobcats drew the No. 4 seed and Levi Toledo's Lady Chieftains landed at No. 13.
Bloomfield soundly defeated Shiprock in a doubleheader on April 14 by scores of 10-5 and 16-0. Clark said the day and time of the game will be decided sometime Monday morning.
The Lady Broncos, winners of 13 consecutive games until Bloomfield snapped that streak in last week's district championship doubleheader, drew the No. 8 seed. Awaiting Kirtland Central in round one will be ninth-seeded West Las Vegas. KC coach Cody Gilmore said he thought his team deserved to be placed one slot higher.
"Personally, comparing us to St. Mike's, I think we did more to earn a No. 7 seed, but it is what it is, you still gotta beat a pretty good team from either spot," he said. "West Las Vegas has a pretty good ball club, we know that."
Gilmore said he took a trip to Las Vegas earlier this season to scout both the Lady Dons and Robertson. KC or West Las Vegas will likely face the first-seeded Robertson in the next round.
"Our staff had the opportunity to scout West Las Vegas and see how fast their pitcher throws and stuff like that," Gilmore said. "We also scouted Robertson in the same game, which is good, because if we happen to get past West Las Vegas, we'd be playing them next."
KC will play the Lady Dons on either Friday or Saturday at Kirtland Central High School.
Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577.