PV falls 1-0 to Centennial; Aztec stays alive

With the loss, the Lady Panthers will now play an elimination game this afternoon against the winner of the Aztec vs. Artesia game

Karl Schneider

RIO RANCHO — Stranding runners in scoring position has been a recurring theme for the Piedra Vista softball team at the 5A state tournament.

But unlike in the Lady Panthers' two wins Thursday, missed chances came back to doom the team to a 1-0 loss to No. 2 Centennial (24-5) today at the Cleveland High School Softball Complex.

"We squandered a few opportunities there," PV head coach Kevin Werth said. "If we had a little luck, maybe it would have been a different outcome. It just didn’t bounce our way today, but what a great effort from these kids. I couldn’t be more proud of them. They battled and battled."

The fourth-seeded Lady Panthers (20-9) put runners on the corners with no outs in the bottom of the second inning, but came up empty after Cheyenne Stark was caught stealing second, and Natalie Martin and Nicole Johnson grounded out to end the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth, Martin hit a one-out double to left field. That, followed by a Johnson single, put runners on first and third for Autumn Begay.

Begay hit a grounder to shortstop, and on the throw to first for the force, Martin was sent home. Centennial’s throw to first was in time for the force, then first baseman Steevi Heredia fired to home and catcher Mariah Bartlett applied the tag to Martin for the 6-3-2 double play.

PV had another chance to tie the game in the sixth, getting Tyra Garcia to second base with two outs, but a ground ball ended the inning.

Centennial’s lone run came in the top of the third on a two-out rally. After back-to-back hits put runners on first and second, Santana Parra knocked an RBI single to score Janai Gutierrez from second.

Parra also served as the Lady Hawks’ pitcher, giving up five hits over seven innings of work.

The PV defense, with Aleja Armenta in the circle, did its job, holding the Lady Hawks to six hits while coming up with a pair of diving catches to stifle any more Centennial rallies.

The loss moves PV to the bottom side of the bracket, where they’ll play an elimination game today at 4 p.m. against the winner of the Aztec vs. Artesia game. That game is at 2 p.m.

Aztec 4, Roswell 0

The top-seeded Lady Tigers (24-6) bounced back from a slow start at the tournament with a 4-0 win over No. 3 Roswell (22-8).

Standout pitcher Paige Adair returned to form for Aztec, striking out 13 batters in the win.

Aztec scored one run in the first inning and then got an RBI from Ashlee Garcia in the fourth to push the lead to 2-0. The Lady Tigers added two more runs in the fifth inning to make it 4-0.

"We came out and played our game, and Paige pitched her butt off," Aztec head coach Roy Johnson said. "I think we’re in the right mind frame now. We came down here as one of the best teams in the tournament, and we know that. We’ve had a tough week, but we’ll overcome the adversity and be fine."

Aztec will play No. 9 Artesia in an elimination game at 2 p.m. today.

The Lady Tigers and Lady Bulldogs (18-12) met Thursday morning with Aztec earning a 7-3 win.

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