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Sartans upset Goddard; Academy rolls on

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — St. Pius, Albuquerque Academy, Piedra Vista and Santa Teresa were winners in the quarterfinals of the Class 4A baseball tournament on Thursday.

No. 7 ST. PIUS 8, No. 2 GODDARD 7 (8 inn.): The Sartans’ Kendrick Sanchez sent his team into the semifinals with a walkoff RBI double in the eighth inning at Eldorado.


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It was a double blessing for Sanchez, whose cousin Chris Gurule was killed in a car crash earlier this week.

“It’s one of those situations that you think … would hang in your head and it does, but once you step on the field it settles down and you focus on the game at hand,” Sanchez said. “You can use it as a little bit of motivation, too.”

With two outs in the inning, Tristin Rizek reached on a fielding error by Rockets second baseman Chase Hubbard. Sanchez then stepped to the plate and nearly ended the game with a walkoff home run to left field, but the ball curved foul at the last minute.

Sitting on a 2-2 count, Sanchez smoked a double to deep center field as Rizek easily scored the winning run.

“I was looking fastball the whole way,” Sanchez said.

“He threw me a curveball midway through the count and (then) I saw a fastball right down the middle and I had to take advantage of it.”

St. Pius (19-8) scored six runs in the fourth inning to take a commanding 7-2 lead, but Goddard (24-6) rallied to within 7-4 before Cody French blasted a game-tying, three-run homer in the seventh inning.

“It’s a good thing I took my blood pressure medication early this morning,” Sartans coach Marc Hilton said.


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No. 6 ABQ. ACADEMY 7, No. 3 FARMINGTON 2: Senior Tyler Buffett was the star both on the mound and at the plate for the Chargers (18-9) at Eldorado.

After striking out two of the three batters he faced in the first, Buffett stepped up in the bottom of the inning and crushed a three-run homer to left-center.

“He threw me a curveball and I wasn’t trying to do too much,” Buffett said. “We hadn’t had a home run all year so I guess that was kind of cool.”

Academy added another run on Reed Cunningham’s RBI single in the third inning and three more runs on Zeke Long’s double in the fourth.

The Scorpions (20-10) did pick up a pair of runs in the sixth inning, but things almost spun out of control. After Elias Blackwater was called out for runner’s interference, the umpires ejected two of Farmington’s coaches for arguing the call.

In the bottom of the frame, Long collided with Blackwater in a play at the plate and the benches cleared.

Long was ejected and will miss the game against St. Pius.

– Chris Jackson

No. 1 PIEDRA VISTA 17, No. 8 LOS ALAMOS 2 (5 inn.): At La Cueva, the defending state champion Panthers overwhelmed the Hilltoppers early and often to advance to a semifinal matchup with Santa Teresa.

Piedra Vista posted four-run innings in its first two at-bats, then blew the game wide open with an eight-run third inning.

The Panthers sent 12 batters to the plate in that inning.

Matt Martin was 3-for-4 for Piedra Vista, including a double, triple and three RBIs.

No. 4 SANTA TERESA 5, No. 5 LOS LUNAS 4: At La Cueva, the Desert Warriors did all their damage early as they moved into the semis opposite Piedra Vista.

Santa Teresa scored all five of its runs in its first at-bat.

Two Los Lunas errors were crucial for Santa Teresa, which had only three hits in the inning.

The Tigers scored twice in the third and fourth innings to cut the deficit to 5-4, and had the potential tying run at second base in the bottom of the seventh when the Desert Warriors struck out Preston Schollander to end the game.

Sartans upset Goddard; Academy rolls on

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