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Highschool Sports

Centennial girls’ softball recognized by county


The student-athletes of the Centennial High School girls’ softball team were honored with a proclamation during a meeting of the Doña Ana County Board of Commissioners this month.

The team received the honor on June 11 after winning the NMAA 5A State Championship in May, finishing their season with a 31-3 record and moving through the New Mexico High School playoffs with a 7-1 record. The team’s season triumphs also included beating 15 other high schools in the Southern New Mexico Invitational.

“The last couple of years, they have been so close to winning the championship,” said District 5 Commissioner Manuel Sanchez. “And this year, they did accomplish that goal. But it wasn’t a smooth road all the way throughout.”

Sanchez noted that the team ran into trouble when they lost in the NM High School Playoffs to La Cueva High School. This relegated them to the consolation bracket. But the Hawks climbed out to get back in the hunt for the championship.

“That included four games on a Friday in order to get back in the championship game,” Sanchez said. “And they had to beat La Cueva, the team that took them down earlier in the tournament.”

The Hawks team included Caprice Barela, Jayden Hooten, Zantelle Rodriguez, Aaliyah Betencourt, Stevie Jiménez, Amanda Valles, Monet Chavez, Addie Moccia, Amaris Viegas, Alina Estrada, Destiny Perez, Kayla Hernandez and Sienna Rodriguez. They were lead by coach Fernie Valles.

“The more we played, the stronger our girls got,” Valles said. “We could’ve played five more games that day. They’re tough.”

Some of these names will be recurring for those who follow college softball. Zantelle Rodriguez has committed to New Mexico State University, Caprice Barela to University of New Mexico, Kayla Hernandez to Odessa College and Jayden Hooten to Western New Mexico University.

“The type of grit that the team showed all through the season is, especially in the time of adversity, is an inspiration to all of us in Las Cruces and Doña Ana County,” Sanchez said.