The final week of sports in the COVID-19 altered season has come. On Saturday the New Mexico Activities Association (NMAA) released its brackets for the baseball and softball state championships.
Five of the six high school teams in Eddy County received bids to the eight-team bracket. Like with basketball, the higher seed will host the first two rounds of the tournament or the teams will meet at a neutral site if travel requires it. The championship games take place at UNM this weekend.
Here’s who will be representing Eddy County this week for a chance to bring back Blue or even Red from the Duke City.
Carlsbad Cavegirls (17-2)
The Cavegirls had a very potent offense, totaling 192 runs while surrendering 43. Carlsbad is on a five-game winning streak and have the No. 3 seed in 5A. They will host No. 6 Rio Rancho Tuesday at 6 p.m.
The Aragon Trio of Faith, Grace and Johnna along with Jessica Munro have 121 combined hits, 86 RBIs and have scored 79 total runs.
Faith Aragon and Haiven Schoolcraft have split pitching duties this year. Faith Aragon (9-1) has thrown 65 2/3 innings, given up 41 hits, surrendered 20 runs, nine earned, issued 30 walks and 101 strikeouts. She’s also hit 10 batters and has an ERA of .959.
Schoolcraft (8-1) has thrown 54 innings, allowing 39 hits, 21 total runs, 14 earned and has a 79-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio and one hit batsmen. Schoolcraft has an ERA of 1.82.
Artesia Lady Bulldogs (18-2)
The reigning two-time defending 4A softball champion Lady Bulldogs look to ride the arm of Gatorade Player of the Year RyLee Crandall to its third consecutive Blue Trophy in four years.
Artesia blew through its competition, outscoring its opponents a combined 187-45. Crandall is 12-1 this season with a 0.19 ERA. Most of the wins have come via mercy rule with Crandall throwing 72 2/3 innings. She’s thrown six shutouts, two no-hitters and two perfect games.
The quad of NM State signee Presley Skinner, Perseis Aguilar, Crandall and McKenna Morrison are the top hitters on the team with a combined 116 hits, 98 RBIs, 112 runs scored and have hit 25 of the team’s 29 home runs.
No. 2 Artesia hosts No. 7 Pojoaque Valley on Tuesday at 9 a.m.
Loving Lady Falcons (13-6)
The Lady Falcons claimed the District 4-A/2A title with a 13-2 record in district play. Currently on a six-game winning streak, Loving has outscored its opponents 240-114. In the last six games Loving has outscored both Dora and Jal a combined 108-20.
Loving has the No. 3 seed in the A/2A bracket and will host No. 6 Rehoboth Christian (11-7) Monday at 11 a.m. The Lynx are the District 1-A/2A champions, going 3-1 in district play.
Carlsbad Cavemen (13-7)
The Cavemen ended up needed every single victory to earn a No. 7 seed in the 5A playoffs. A familiar foe, the Hobbs Eagles, just had it’s 18-game winning streak snapped by Carlsbad. The Cavemen travel to Hobbs Tuesday for a 6 p.m. start.
Carlsbad split the final two games with Hobbs, limiting the Eagles to two runs total. In the season finale, Carlsbad run-ruled Hobbs, 11-1.
Nolan Perry leads the Cavemen with a .397 average, eight doubles, two triples and two home runs. Right behind Perry is the trio of Ashton Whiteaker, Tristan Thomas and Mack Mabrey who have 57 hits, 13 doubles, four triples, 37 RBIs and one home run courtesy of Mabrey.
Mabrey and Perry are the two primary pitchers for the Cavemen, each with seven pitching appearances. Mabrey and Perry have combined for 95 strikeouts and 13 earned runs allowed. Both ERAs are around 1.50 and both are responsible for pitching no-hitters this season.
Artesia Bulldogs (14-5)
The Bulldogs won their district title but will still be on the road in the quarterfinals. No. 5 Artesia travels to face Santa Teresa (18-2) on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
Matthew Asher can be reached at 575-628-5524, firstname.lastname@example.org or @Caveman_Masher on Twitter.