McCurdy Defeats Loving, Advances To State Quarterfinals

by Editor / May 13, 2019 / 0 comments
McCurdy senior Kemmer Croff had four hits and drove in three runs in the Bobcats 8-6 victory over Loving High School May 8 in the opening round of the Class2A state baseball championships at McCurdy. The Bobcats will face Estancia High School Thursday in the quarterfinals at St. Pius X High School in  Albuquerque. 

McCurdy Defeats Loving, Advances To State Quarterfinals

By George Morse

The McCurdy Charter School baseball team got a taste of the tougher competition it is going to face now that it has completed its regular season and advanced to the Class 2A state baseball championships. The sixth-seeded Bobcats hosted the 11th-seeded Loving High School Falcons Wednesday (5/8) in an opening-round game of the championships at McCurdy. The Bobcats pulled out a tense 8-6 victory over Falcons and will advance to the state quarterfinals.

“You battled and never gave up,” McCurdy Coach Roberto DeVargas said to his team after the game. “Let’s get ready for next week and take it to the next level.”

It was the first real test for the Bobcats in some time. McCurdy had breezed through its District  2-2A, outscoring its weaker opponents 93-11 and going 6-0. A doubleheader against 12th-seeded Magdalena High School, provided some competition, but McCurdy still won easily 11-1, 8-3 to finish the regular season 12-4. Due to opponent’s cancellations, in one case an entire season, the Bobcats had trouble scheduling games.

The Falcons proved right from the start that this was not going to be an easy game. In the first inning, Loving’s first two batters drew walks from McCurdy starter Ubaldo Barela. With one out, Josiah Leija singled to drive in two runs. Mauro Moreno singled to score Leija. Loving led 3-0 going into the bottom of the first inning.

McCurdy came back with a run in the bottom of the first inning.Isaiah Archuleta drew a walk, Diego Borrego singled. Kemmer Croff’s single scored Archuleta. The score was 3-1 after one inning.

Loving added another run in the top of the second inning. Cyris Hernandez led off with a single. Devin Pina  was hit with a pitch. Hernandez scored on an error and Pina advanced to third on the same error, both on Kevin Gut-Omen's grounder to third.

McCurdy came up with a fine defensive play that would save a run. Emerson Rodriguez flied out to McCurdy right fielder Borrego. He gunned a throw home and nailed Pina at the plate when he tried to score from third. The 9-2 double play helped McCurdy get out of the inning with just one run scoring. Loving had a 4-1 lead.

The Bobcats big  inning came in the bottom of the second. Barela drew a walk to lead off. With one out, catcher Paul Maestas sent a soaring fly ball down the left field line that landed near the fence in fair territory, scoring Barela. Maestas ended up with a double and would later score on a passed ball.

AJ Vallo and Archuleta then drew walks. Borrego’s single to left brought home Vallo. Croff was safe on an infield hit. Archuleta scored on a passed ball and Borrego advanced to third base. Borrego scored on Nicholas Croff’s sacrifice fly. McCurdy scored five runs and took a 6-4 lead.

Loving came up with a run in the top of the third inning on singles by Moreno, Dylan Green and Hernandez. Barela got out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Kevin Gut-Omen to end the inning.

The Falcons tied the game 6-6 with a run in the top of the fourth inning. AJ Vallo came into pitch for the Bobcats. He walked Rodriguez to lead off the inning, but promptly made up for it by picking him off at first base. That would later save the Bobcats a run after Leija and Moreno singled, with Leija scoring after Moreno’s hit got past McCurdy’s center fielder.

Vallo kept getting himself out of trouble. He got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the fifth inning by striking out Rodriguez and getting Kevin Porras to ground into a fielder’s choice. In the top of the sixth inning, he gave up a one-out triple to Moreno, but struck out Gio Martinez and Green to strand Moreno at third.

Loving pitcher Rodriguez had shut out the Bobcats in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The score was tied 6-6 going into the bottom of the sixth inning.

McCurdy’s Mekelis Talachy started off the inning with a beautiful bunt down the third-base line that he beat out for a base hit. Rodriguez retired the next two batters with a pop fly to first and a strikeout. He then hit Archuleta with a pitch.

With runners at first and third with two outs, it looked like the inning would end when Borrego grounded to short for what looked like an easy forceout at second. However. Martinez misplayed the ball and it got by him for an error, allowing Talachy to score. Kemmer Croff followed with a single to left to score Archuleta. McCurdy took an 8-6 lead

In the top of the seventh inning, Vallo got the leadoff hitter to pop up to the pitcher. Then, he walked the next two batters. He hit Rodriguez with a pitch. The bases were loaded with just one out. It was looking good for the Falcons with  Porras batting.

Porras never got a chance to deliver a base hit that could have tied the game. Loving literally ran itself out of the game.

First, Pina tried to score when the ball got away from catcher Maestas. Maestas retrieved the ball and flipped it to Vallo, who tagged Pina out. There were now two outs. With Porras still batting, once again the ball got away from Maestas and Got-Owen tried to score from third. It wasn’t even close. Maestas once more retrieved the ball quickly and got it to Vallo, who actually had to wait for Got-Owen to get to the plate before tagging him out. Game over with an 8-6 McCurdy victory.

 “A lot of character, a lot of heart,’ Coach DeVargas said. “It was their passion for the game. They never gave up.”

McCurdy advanced to the quarterfinals. They will face third-seeded Estancia High School Thursday (5/16) at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque. During the regular season, Estancia and McCurdy faced each other April 5 in a tournament at Santa Rosa High School. The Bears took a 9-2 victory.


McCurdy's AJ Vallo takes a swing against Loving. Vallo came in to pitch in the second inning and picked up the win.

McCurdy carcher Paul Maestas attempts a bunt against Loving. Maestas had a key double in the second inning when McCurdy scored five runs to take a 6-4 lead.

McCurdy senior Ubaldo Barela was the starting pitcher for the Bobcats. He moved over to first base later in the game.

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