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The Centennial High School softball team’s storybook run through the state 5A playoffs came up one win short.
The Hawks, 25-8 overall and seeded No. 2, lost 13-6 to top seed Carlsbad in the state 5A championship game May 14 in Albuquerque.
Centennial had to win three do-or-die games May 13 to work its way through the consolation bracket of the double-elimination tournament to reach the championship game.
But all that softball seemed to catch up with them and they ran out of gas, Centennial coach Fernie Valles said.
With Carlsbad holding a 6-5 lead, Valles decided to pull ace pitcher Caprice Barela after five innings.
Barela had pitched five complete games in the tournament to lead the Hawks to the title game.
In the sixth inning, Centennial was unable to convert a double play and Carlsbad went on to score four runs. In the bottom half of the inning, Centennial left the bases loaded.
That proved to be the difference in the game, Valles said.
While the loss hurts, there is plenty to be proud of concerning this season, Valles said.
“I am very proud of this softball team,” Valles said. “This young team never put their heads down; they competed in district and competed in the state tournament.”
Centennial has two juniors and no seniors on its team; the rest of the squad are either freshmen or sophomores.
“We are looking good for next year, but there are no guarantees,” Valles said.
Gianna Villegas went 3-for-4 in the state final, and Amanda Valles hit a three-run homer in the first inning to get them going.
On May 13, Centennial beat No. 4 La Cueva 10-7, No. 9 Piedra Vista 2-0 and No. 3 Alamogordo 12-10 to reach the state title game.
On May 12, Centennial started out with a 5-4 loss to No. 7 Hobbs but then rebounded in the consolation bracket for a 2-1 win over No. 6 Cleveland High.
Mesilla Valley goes on ‘Cinderella’ run
A young Mesilla Valley Christian softball team went on a similar run in the state A-2A playoffs.
The SonBlazers, with six eighth-graders and four freshmen on their team, worked their way through the consolation bracket and were one win away from playing for the state championship.
Mesilla Valley, 22-7 and the No. 5 seed, saw its season come to an end with a 12-0 loss to No. 2 Tularosa on May 12. MVC went 4-2 in Albuquerque during the state tournament.
“I am really proud of the girls,” coach Rodney Pollard said. “They worked their tails off and earned what they achieved. They came out and played good ball, competing. It was a Cinderella story.”
Mesilla Valley won its play-in game 18-2 against No. 12 Pecos, then lost to No. 4 Shiprock Northwest 9-7 and then bounced back with an 11-1 win over No. 8 Mora, all on May 11.
On May 12, the SonBlazers beat No. 6 Jal 19-13 in the consolation bracket, shut out No. 3 Santa Rosa 15-0 and then lost to Tularosa.
“I feel the future is bright as long as we want to compete with other people and continue to work hard,” Pollard said. “We like the taste we got.”
Organ Mountain, MVC fall in state baseball
The Organ Mountain High baseball team, the No. 4 seed, lost 5-1 to No. 5 Hobbs in the 5A quarterfinals on May 12, at the Santa Ana Star Field at UNM. The Knights, who had dreams of winning state, finished their season at 25-5.
In the state 1A playoffs, Mesilla Valley Christian lost 11-1 to No. 1 seed Gateway Christian in the semifinals May 13, also at UNM.