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Albuquerque/NM Hall to honor Eastdale

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Little League team rolled to World Series title last summer

The Eastdale Little League Majors softball All-Stars accomplished something pretty special back in August.

Accordingly, the Eastdale players and their coaches will be honored Sunday at the Albuquerque/New Mexico Sports Hall of Fame banquet with that organization’s Award of Special Recognition.

The stars of the banquet are the new Hall of Fame inductees: former Lobo All-American and Chicago Bears All-Pro linebacker Brian Urlacher; former Lobo basketball star and NBA veteran Kenny Thomas; and Carol and Reed Barnitz, longtime Albuquerque high school and youth coaches.

Abq/NM Sports Hall of Fame banquet, 5 p.m., Marriott Pyramid North. Tickets: $50, or the New Mexico Activities Association office, 6600 Palomas NE

Each year, the Hall of Fame executive board also honors individuals, teams and promotional entities who have excelled during the previous year.

Those honorees are:

The Eastdale softball Little Leaguers, who emphatically won a World Series title in Portland, Ore. – crushing a team from Windermere, Fla., 16-1, in the championship game before an ESPN2 audience.

La Cueva basketball star Bryce Alford and Albuquerque High swimmer Madison Bridges, male and female high school athletes of the year.

Alford is closing in on the finish of a record-breaking career. In the fall, he’ll join his father, coach Steve Alford, as a New Mexico Lobo.

Bridges, now a freshman at the University of Missouri, qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials in the 100- and 200-meter backstroke. She won four straight New Mexico state titles in the 200 individual medley and was a prep All-American in both backstroke events.

Landry Jones, former Oklahoma quarterback and Artesia star, and Shelby Pendley, Arizona and former Rio Rancho softball shortstop.

Jones finished a prolific career at OU by throwing for 4,267 yards and 30 touchdowns last fall.

Pendley earned All-Pac-12 honors last spring by hitting .331 with 19 home runs.

Jarrin Solomon, former La Cueva and UNM track standout, Olympic Athlete of the Year. Solomon won an Olympic bronze medal in London as part of Trinidad & Tobago’s 4-by-400-meter relay team.

Chris Williams, former Rio Rancho and New Mexico State football star, Professional Athlete of the Year. Williams returned five punts and one kickoff for touchdowns last fall for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and was named a Canadian Football League All-Star. He was a CFL East Division All-Star as a receiver as well as a returner.

Ron Geyer, St. Michael’s boys basketball coach, High School Coach of the Year. Geyer coached the Horsemen to a Class 3A state title, defeating previously unbeaten Hope Christian and snapping the Huskies’ string of three straight championships.

Joe Franklin, UNM men’s and women’s cross country coach, Collegiate Coach of the Year. In October, the Lobo men and women swept the Mountain West Conference team and individual cross-country titles for the fourth straight year. Both teams advanced to the NCAA meet, where the women placed 10th and the men 21st.

The two UNM cross-country teams also will be recognized collectively by the Hall of Fame as the Collegiate Team of the Year.

The Cleveland High School boys and girls cross country and track teams, High School Team of the Year. The Storm won 2012 state titles in boys and girls track and boys cross country.

The Ty Murray Invitational professional bull-riding event at the Pit, Promotion of the Year. The popular PBR event returns to the Pit next month.

The late Johnny Tapia, Award of Distinction. The charismatic Tapia, who died in May of heart disease at age 45, won five professional boxing world titles in three different weight classes.
Abq/NM Sports Hall of Fame banquet, 5 p.m., Marriott Pyramid North. Tickets: $50, or the New Mexico Activities Association office, 6600 Palomas NE

— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal