Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

5 Las Cruces high school baseball players to watch in district play

LAS CRUCES — The Class 5A high school baseball district season has arrived.

Three of the four Las Cruces high schools stood to compete for a district championship, and coaches expect Mayfield, Deming, Alamogordo and Gadsden high schools to make some noise during district play. Here are five local high school baseball players to keep an eye on this season.

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Steven Milam, Jr. SS, Centennial

Centennial High’s Class of 2023 LSU commit was nicknamed “Monster” for a reason.

Milam has firmly cemented himself as one of the top high school ball players in Las Cruces, if not the state of New Mexico. He’s played for the 15U US National Team, and he’s currently batting .360 with a .515 on base percentage and 11 runs batted in. Milam, a shortstop, is part of head coach Rusty Evans’ exceptional junior class. Evans is confident more than a few names from this year’s junior class will be called frequently next year.

But Milam’s will be called frequently this year, too.

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Steve Solorzano, Jr. 3B, Las Cruces

Solorzano may have committed to New Mexico State over a year ago, but it hasn’t made him complacent.

Despite normally being a third baseman, Solorzano recorded 15 strikeouts in six innings of work pitching against Deming this weekend. Solorzano is hitting .357 with 11 RBI’s and has helped power the Bulldawgs to an 8-2 start in its first 10 games. He also hit a home run in a 5-2 win over Cleveland March 12. Las Cruces had won eight of its first nine games before falling to Organ Mountain 9-0 Tuesday.

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Adan Campos, senior P, Mayfield

Mayfield’s No. 1 pitcher has picked up where he left off last season.

Campos has a 3.15 earned run average in 13.1 innings so far this season after racking up a 1.65 ERA last year. He allowed one run in four innings of work and seven strikeouts in Mayfield’s 10-0 win over Alamogordo Tuesday in addition to hitting two for three at the plate with an RBI. He is batting .333 at the plate through Mayfield’s first 10 games.

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Zakye Hawkins, sophomore SS, Las Cruces

One of LCHS’s most prominent multi-sport athletes could be a difference-maker in district play.

Hawkins, a standout wide receiver for LCHS, has been described by coaches as “a really good baseball player as well” in addition to his football abilities. Hawkins and Solorzano provided the one-two punch on the mound Friday night against Deming, coming in in relief to pick up the final three outs without surrending a run. Hawkins primarily plays shortstop but pitches as well.

Hawkins had 29 receptions for 690 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in the 2021 fall football season en route to a Second Team All-State selection. He also ran for 240 yards and four touchdowns on 28 carries.

He will be a Class of 2024 recruit.

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Riley Hall, junior P, SS, 3B, Organ Mountain

Maxpreps’ No. 8 ranked team in New Mexico wouldn’t be off to an 8-1 start without help from its middle infield.

After batting .324 with 13 RBI’s in 22 games last season, Hall has drawn notice again this season. He’s helped the Knights to an undefeated start against fellow New Mexico high schools, and Organ Mountain ran by Las Cruces 9-0 Tuesday in the district opener. Organ Mountain is out-scoring its opponents 93-24 through its first nine games and has scored at least seven runs in all but one game so far this season.

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What’s being said

More than a few local baseball players didn’t make the list but could still be difference makers in district play. Evans said the junior class throughout the city is loaded with talent and will make the district exceptionally competitive.

“There’s quite a few solid baseball players where I don’t know if the talent level is exceptional, but just really, really good baseball players in this town,” Evans said. “…I think Organ Mountain, (Las) Cruces and (Centennial), I think we’re going to beat each other up. So it’s going to be who can survive, and who can take the three-game series and win Two out of three. I think (the district race) is going to come down to that last weekend of the series.”

Stephen Wagner is a sports reporter for the Las Cruces Sun News. He can found on Twitter at @stephenwag22 and reached at [email protected]

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