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The Organ Mountain High School baseball team overcame its worst game of the year and earned the right to advance to Albuquerque for the second straight year.
The Centennial High softball team, meanwhile, is also advancing to Albuquerque with a young group of players.
The Knights won their best-of-three opening-round series against No. 13 Los Lunas in the 5A baseball playoffs, taking the series 2-1 at the Field of Dreams.
Organ Mountain won the opener 7-3 Friday, May 6, lost the second game 13-10 Saturday, May 7 in what coach Alan Edmonson said was an uncharacteristically poor outing, and then bounced back to take the decisive game 11-1 later that day.
The Knights, 25-4, advance to the quarterfinal round and face No. 5 Hobbs at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 12, at Santa Ana Star Field at the University of New Mexico.
Organ Mountain rallied in the second game despite making some defensive and baserunning mistakes and actually brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, Edmonson said.
They carried that momentum on to the third and decisive game, he said.
“It is big for our program and big for the kids,” Edmonson said. “The expectation is for us to be there (advance to Albuquerque) every single year. If we don’t get to Albuquerque, we have failed. That is the attitude we have.”
Maddux Edmonson struck out 11 batters in the opening win and went 2 for 3 with a double and triple in the deciding game.
Tyler McCann also had two hits in the third game, and Riley Hall went five strong innings on the mound in the clincher.
Centennial, seeded No. 2 in the 5A softball playoffs, found itself in a tussle Friday night, May 6, in its 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.
Centennial coach Fernie Valles said he told his team, which has no seniors, that seeding doesn’t mean anything and teams like Cibola are strong despite their pre-tournament ranking.
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.
The Centennial comeback was fueled by 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. The opening round was single elimination; the softball tournament will become double elimination the rest of the way.
In other postseason action:
The Mayfield High School softball team saw its season come to an end with a 6-0 loss to Piedra Vista in the opening round of the state 5A playoffs Saturday, May 7, at the Field of Dreams.
Mayfield was seeded No. 8 and Piedra Vista of Farmington was seeded No. 9. Piedra Vista ran off a string of nine straight state championships from 2006 to 2014 in 4A before moving to 5A. The Trojans finished 18-9 on the season.
In 5A baseball, No. 12 Las Cruces was eliminated by No. 5 Hobbs in the best two-of-three opening-round series. Las Cruces High lost 5-2 May 6 and 13-3 May 7 in Hobbs. The Bulldawgs finished 20-8.
No. 2 Sandia won its series against No. 15 Mayfield 2-1. Mayfield lost 5-4 in the opener, then won Game 2 6-3 and then lost 18-1 in the decisive game. Mayfield finished its season at 13-16 overall.
No. 6 Cleveland beat No. 11 Centennial 2-1 in a best-of-three series. Centennial won 9-0 in the opener, then lost 11-10 and 11-1 in the deciding game. The Hawks finished 17-12 overall.