Lady Broncos bounce Bloomfield from state
RIO RANCHO – The Kirtland Central softball team came up with key play after key play to keep its season alive and send rival Bloomfield home from the 4A state tournament.
The Lady Broncos opened the tourney with a 13-3 quarterfinals loss to No. 1 Robertson before bouncing the Lady Bobcats with a 5-3 win in an elimination game Wednesday afternoon at the Rio Rancho Softball Complex.
Bloomfield beat KC in their each of their three previous games this season.
Fourth-seeded Bloomfield lost to No. 5 Cobre 8-2 in the quarters to move into the losers bracket.
Against Bloomfield, the KC defense made multiple plays for key outs to keep the Lady Bobcats in check. In the fourth inning, Moriah Toledo crashed into the fence while making a catch in foul territory down the left-field line, briefly stopping the game while the KC trainer and coaching staff ran onto the field to check her for injuries. She remained in the game.
In the top of the sixth, with Bloomfield looking for a two-out rally after a single from Sunshine Tso, KC second baseman Andrea Weaver knocked down a hard-hit ground ball, losing her balance in the process. She rolled over the ball only to gather herself, snagged the ball and fired to first base while sitting down to get the out and end the inning.
“We told them to play with heart. Toledo tried to take out the fence, then (Weaver) throwing for an out from the seat of her pants, it was hard, but we kept fighting,” KC head coach Cody Gilmore said. “The girls believe in themselves, and the main thing is, they’re having fun. I can’t say enough about the girls. They’re doing great.”
Helping to anchor the Lady Broncos (19-10) was pitcher Shiloh Lewis, who pitched a complete game for the win.
“She showed a lot of heart. When we played this morning, she got a little worn out because it was hot on the turf (field),” Gilmore said of Lewis. “When she came out (of the game) in the fourth inning (against Robertson), I told her, ‘You’re going seven innings next game.’ She looked at me, and I just said, ‘Find a way to get it done.’ And she stepped up to the challenge, and I’m extremely proud of her.”
After Lewis retired the Lady Bobcats (21-8) in order in the top of the first inning, the Lady Broncos came out and scored twice to take an early lead.
Toledo drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to center, then Weaver belted a triple to score Toledo.
KC should have had one more run in the inning when Lewis hit a fly to shallow center, which Bloomfield shortstop Thalia O’Neil snagged for the out. O’Neil’s momentum took her away from home, allowing Weaver time to tag at third and score, but the umpires ruled Weaver left the bag before O’Neil made the catch, and the inning ended with the unconventional double play.
Bloomfield scored one run in the top of the third on a KC error.
The Lady Broncos answered in the bottom of the inning. Dominique McGilbert ripped a two-out doubled and later scored on a wild pitch. Then Lewis came through with an RBI to make it 4-1.
Bloomfield put together a two-out rally of its own in the top of the fourth. The Lady Bobcats got an RBI double from Tso, then scored on a KC error. Bloomfield had a chance to tie or take the lead in the inning with runners on second and third base, but stranded the runners.
“Our bats were dead today. When we needed a hit the bats didn’t come through,” Bloomfield head coach Andi Clark said. “It was a bad day of batting all around.”
KC added one run in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI from Nia Nelson to provide for the final score of 5-3.
The Lady Bobcats also struggled at the plate against Cobre (21-6) and were held without a hit through the first four innings.
Cobre scored one run in the first and one in the third, both on RBIs from Danni Misquez, to take a 2-0 lead.
Bloomfield’s Bella DeHerrera broke the hitless streak with a leadoff single in the top of the fifth. Brandi Alcantar and Ashley Lucero added singles to load the bases for the Lady Bobcats with no outs in the inning. But they could only get one run across, when DeHerrera took off from third on a wild pitch and slid head first, just under the tag at home for the run.
“We had bases loaded with no outs, and we scored one run. That tells you we weren’t hitting the ball. Granted, the Cobre pitcher is very, very good, but today wasn’t our day,” Clark said.
Cobre’s Jadin Placencio struck out 15 Lady Bobcats during the game.
DeHerrera drove in Bloomfield's second run in the sixth inning.
KC shared Bloomfield’s frustrations during its opening game against Robertson.
The Lady Broncos jumped out to a 3-1 lead on the Lady Cardinals (26-3) after the top of the third inning.
Robertson smoked a home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth and never looked back, scoring six runs in the fourth and another six in the fifth to win.
KC will play No. 2 Portales (23-6) in an elimination game at 10 a.m. today.
Going into the game, Gilmore said he doesn’t want the Lady Broncos to be satisfied with what they’re accomplished so far in the tournament.
“Why be satisfied with being one of the six best teams? Let’s keep going,” he said. “We can compete with anybody. We had Robertson down 3-1 earlier this morning. We need to believe in each other and that we can compete with anybody.”
Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.