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No. 2 Centennial survives scare in opening round softball

Organ Mountain, Centennial win openers in best of 3 round in 5A baseball


By Dave Burge

Las Cruces Bulletin

The Centennial High School softball team is seeded No. 2 in the state 5A playoffs, but the Hawks found themselves in a tussle Friday night in their opening round game against No. 15 Cibola at the Field of Dreams.

The Hawks, 21-6, overall, broke open a 3-3 tie the fifth inning and held on for a 5-3 win.

“I told the girls cause they are young, that seeding don’t mean anything,” said Centennial coach Fernie Valles. “The 15th seed don’t mean nothing; they (Cibola) are a really good team.”

The Hawks rallied behind the pitching of sophomore ace Caprice Barela, who struggled at times but did enough to secure the win. Barela scattered five hits and struck out eight.

Barela settled down after giving up a game-tying three-run homer in the top half of the fifth.

“Today, she struggled; she is a better pitcher than she showed today,” Valles said.

Valles said Barela let a tough night at the plate affect her in the circle.

“I could care less if she goes O for 4 as long as she throws good,” Valles said.

The Centennial comeback was fueled sophomore third baseman Kayla Hernandez and junior shortstop Gianna Villegas, who both had RBI singles in the bottom half of the fifth to give Centennial the lead.

Earlier, freshman Amanda Valles, no relation to the coach, hit a two-run homer.

Centennial will next play No. 7 Hobbs at 11 a.m. Thursday, May 12, at Cleveland High in Rio Rancho. After the opening round was single elimination, the tournament  will be become double elimination the rest of the way.

In 5A baseball, No. 4 Organ Mountain beat No. 13 Los Lunas 7-3 at the Field of Dreams. The opening round in baseball is best two out of three and then the tournament becomes single elimination.

Also in 5A, No. 11 Centennial beat No. 6 Cleveland 9-0, No. 2 Sandia beat No. 15 Mayfield 5-4 and No. 5 Hobbs beat No. 12 Las Cruces 5-2 in opening round action. The series resume Saturday.

In 5A softball, No. 8 Mayfield will host No. 9 Piedra Vista at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Field of Dreams.