Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Preps: Sandia baseball, Manzano softball are big winners Saturday

All that’s left is to hear the names of the schools that are qualified for the state tournaments and the order in which they are placed.

That comes Sunday afternoon.

Saturday marked the final day of the high school baseball and softball regular seasons. The only bit of unfinished business was in the South Valley late Saturday night, as Rio Grande attempted to clinch the District 5-5A baseball title outright in the second game of a doubleheader against Santa Fe.

The Ravens were presented that chance when, stunningly, Albuquerque High scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning earlier on Saturday in Game 2 of a 5-5A doubleheader at home against Los Lunas.

“Our kids just never game up,” Bulldogs coach Robert Padilla said, “which was awesome.”

Jabby Cooper’s three-run, walk-off home run for AHS capped an incredible comeback and gave the Bulldogs an 8-7 victory over the Tigers. Los Lunas (17-9, 8-2), which won the opener 13-1, had started Saturday tied for first in 5-5A with Rio Grande (18-5 and 8-1 after winning Game 1 against Santa Fe, 16 -6).

Sandia clinched the District 2-5A baseball title, 21-0 and 13-1 on Saturday at West Mesa. The Matadors (18-6, 9-1 in 2-5A) were able to rest their top two starting pitchers while racking up 31 hits in their two victories. That included a 5-for-5 performance by Juan Portillo in Game 2.

The Matadors could be seeded as high as the No. 2 in Class 5A on Sunday.

“I think a lot of things have been coming together for us,” Sandia coach Chris Eaton said. “Things are lining up and getting better every day.”

La Cueva (20-4, 7-3) finished second in 2-5A. The Bears split a doubleheader at Eldorado on Saturday, winning the opener 12-2 but losing the second game 10-7 to the Eagles.

Cleveland (16-9, 7-1) clinched the 1-5A title earlier in the week when the Storm defeated Rio Rancho. The Rams (22-4, 6-2) cemented second place in 1-5A with an 8-2 victory on Friday at Volcano Vista (14-10, 4-4).

  • In Class 4A, Albuquerque Academy (22-4, 8-0) finished an unbeaten run through league play with a 1-0 decision Friday over second-place Valley (15-11, 6-2).

St Pius (18-4, 7-1) is the 5-4A champ, by a single game over Grants (18-8, 6-2).

Sandia Prep (18-5, 11-1) won the District 4/5-3A championship.

SOFTBALL: Rio Rancho (18-8, 7-1) clinched the 1-5A title on Friday night with an 8-4 win over third-place Volcano Vista (15-8, 3-5). Cleveland (19-6, 6-2) was sandwiched between the Rams and Hawks in the 1-5A standings.

Manzano was a big winner Saturday. The Monarchs (17-9, 9-1) swept two 5-5A games versus visiting Capital, 14-4 and 10-0 and won the district title outright, their first since 2019, because Albuquerque High (12-12, 8- 2) split a doubleheader Saturday against Los Lunas.

“This momentum has moved the confidence for these young ladies,” Manzano coach Estella Gamboa said. “There have been a couple of obstacles along the way, but their energy is going to move them beyond that.”

La Cueva finished the regular season on a 14-game winning streak. The Bears (18-6 overall) rolled in two games Saturday at Eldorado, 15-1 and 18-2, and closed out a 10-0 campaign in District 2-5A.

“I think we’ll be a top-5 (seed) for sure,” La Cueva coach Ron Romero said.

n Bernalillo (20-5, 7-1) was the District 6-4A champ in a tight race with Valley (14-10, 6-2) and Albuquerque Academy (17-9, 5-3). The Spartans’ 1-0 win over the Vikings earlier this week was the result that put Bernalillo over the top.

St. Pius (18-4, 8-0) of District 5-4A.

The New Mexico Activities Association is expected to announce the state softball and baseball brackets at about 5 pm Sunday.

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