It’s easy to wonder just what ails struggling La Cueva, but more important, what is so right about Albuquerque Academy?
The Chargers upset the Bears 11-10 on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Albuquerque Metro Baseball Championships. Academy (7-0) has wins this season against Sandia, Valley and La Cueva, three of the top four seeds in the metro tournament.
“It comes down to Alex Bregman, he’s our leader,” Academy coach Josue Ayala said. “He’s proven every day that he’ll keep our guys in it every pitch. And I think our pitching staff has also picked it up when it comes to crucial games.”
The ninth-seeded Chargers will face No. 5 Volcano Vista (6-1) in the first semifinal Thursday, at noon at Lobo Field. That will be followed at 2:30 by No. 3 Sandia against Eldorado or Manzano. The second-seeded Eagles and seventh-seeded Monarchs were deadlocked 11-11 after eight innings when darkness caused the game to be postponed. The game will resume at 2 p.m. today.
Bregman, a junior shortstop/catcher, hit a home run for Academy. Brent Jones added a key two-run double during a three-run seventh inning, and the Chargers needed that insurance because La Cueva (4-3) scored four in the bottom of the seventh and had the potential tying run at second base when Tyler Buffett got a strikeout to end the game.
“We matured a lot, especially after this win,” Ayala said.
La Cueva was ranked No. 6 nationally in one preseason poll, but the Bears have struggled.
“I think we get a lot of people’s best games,” La Cueva coach Gerard Pineda said. “And we’ve played some good teams.”
For Sandia (3-3), Marvin Ortiz went five innings, striking out six in a 12-2, five-inning victory over 11th-seeded St. Pius.
Volcano Vista got two homers from Andre Vigil in a 13-7 win at fourth-seeded Valley. The Hawks scored seven runs in the first on three hits.