The ball gets by Pojoaque catcher Jessica Roybal and Española's Ashley Osegueda scores in the Sundevils 8-5 victory over the Elkettes March 22 in Santa Fe.
Softball Season Gets Going
By George Morse
The Española Valley High School and Pojoaque Valley High School softball teams have started their seasons including an early, pre-district matchup between the two future District 2-4A rival at the Roseanne Noedel Memorial Tournament hosted by St. Michael’s High School. Española came away with an 8-5 victory in what will be several showdowns between the two local rivals.
That matchup came in the consolation semifinals of the tournament after Española lost to Albuquerque Academy 5-3 in extra innings March 21 in the opening round. Española’s Haley Ortega had a two-run homer for the Sundevils in the first inning and the score was 2-2 at the end of seven innings. Española took a 3-2 lead in the top of the eighth inning. Academy scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth for the victory. Pojoaque was beaten by host St. Michael’s High School 11-8 March 21 in the opening round.
In the consolation semifinals, Española took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning after leadoff hitter Sydnee Pollard was hit by Pojoaque pitcher Aiyana Gipson and later scored on a double by Haley Ortega. A hit by Ashley Osegueda scored Ortega.
Pojoaque tied things up with two runs in the top of the second inning. Ayana Aguirre led off with a hit. With one out, Kaelynn Mondragon had another base hit. They both scored on a hit by Gipson.
Pojoaque took a 4-2 lead in the top of the third on a two-out double by Mondragon that scored Aguirre and Michaela Martinez. Mondragon was thrown out at third trying to stretch her double into a triple to end the inning.
Española came up with two runs in the bottom of the third to tie the score. Osegueda drove in one run with a double and a double by Autumn Vigil scored the other run.
Española took a 7-4 lead with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Pollard led off with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. Ortega drew a walk. Pollard scored on an error by Gipson. Osegueda drove in a run with a base hit and scored on a double by Vigil. Pojoaque scored in the top of the fifth inning to make the score 7-5. Española added an insurance in the bottom of the sixth inning after Taylor Suazo led off with a base hit and later scored.
Sophomore Hailey Guinn was Española’s starting pitcher, giving Española’s primary pitcher Vigil a rest. Guinn went five innings and picked up the win. Vigil came on in the sixth inning in relief to preserve the 8-5 win for the Lady Sundevils.
Española would hold off Raton High School 10-9 March 23 in the consolation finals. The Sundevils were leading 10-6 going into the seventh inning. The Tigers rallied for three runs to make the score 10-9, but the Sundevils managed to get the final out and escape with the victory.
Española improved to 5-2 on the season. The Sundevils other loss was a close 13-12 decision to Kirtland Central High School. Española has a nice mix of players from seniors to eighth-graders throughout its lineup. Vigil is the Sundevils primary pitcher with Guinn giving her a break now and then. Española has been hitting the ball well and plays good defense. Veteran Coach Robbie Garcia returns for his 12th season at Española.
Pojoaque fell to 1-5 on the season after losing to Capital High Shool 13-5 March 23.The young Elkettes are looking to rebuild after losing six seniors to graduation. The Elkettes defeated Santa Fe Indian School for their lone victory. Pojoaque takes on Raton Saturday. Chris Ortiz is the Elkettes first-year coach. He replaces Ricky DeHerrera, who has retired. Ortiz has been an assistant coach for nine years at Pojoaque before taking over the reins from DeHerrera.
Both teams will be chasing Los Alamos High School, which has won the last two district championships. The Lady Hilltoppers are currently 4-4 on the season. Pojoaque and Española are now District 2-4A rival after previously being members of different classes. Los Alamos faces Albuquerque Academy Tuesday in Los Alamos.
McCurdy Charter School
McCurdy Charter School opened the season at the Lady Lion Softball Tournament hosted by Santa Rosa High School. The Lady Bobcats were the defending champions, but this season McCurdy was defeated by Estancia High School 14-3 March 22 in the semifinals and 10-4 by Santa Rosa March 23 in the third-place game. McCurdy defeated a non-varsity opponent 14-3 in the opening round.
Sophomore Hailey Guinn was Española's starting pitcher against Pojoaque. Guinn went five innings and picked up the win. Aiyana Gipson went the distance for Pojoaque, pitching six innings.
Española's Autumn Vigil pitched the last two innings of Española's 8-5 victory over Pojoaque.