Prep baseball: Carlsbad, Sandia to play for 5A crown - Albuquerque Journal

Prep baseball: Carlsbad, Sandia to play for 5A crown

Sandia pitcher Jordan Martinez, bottom center, is mobbed by teammates after Friday’s victory against La Cueva in a 5A semifinal. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Chris Eaton and the Sandia Matadors celebrated large on Friday.
“Monumental,” the Sandia baseball coach said after his second-seeded Matadors advanced to the Class 5A state championship game with a 3-1 victory over La Cueva in the semifinals at Santa Ana Star Field. “Tomorrow is never guaranteed, so we’re gonna celebrate like it’s the World Series.”
Actually, “tomorrow” is guaranteed for Sandia, as the Matadors (22-7) face No. 1 Carlsbad (26-4) for the 5A title at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Isotopes Park. The Cavemen nipped Hobbs 2-1 in Friday’s early semifinal.
“It’s the two best teams going at it, and we’re one of them,” Eaton said. “That’s pretty cool.”

Carlsbad team members celebrate their win over Hobbs in the Class 5A semifinal. Next up is a championship game vs. Sandia. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

No. 1 CARLSBAD 2, No. 5 HOBBS 1: Mack Mabrey (10-1) took the Cavemen (26-4) most of the way, and fellow southpaw Grant Harvill pushed Carlsbad over the finish line in a matchup that provided an inordinately high number of twists and turns for such a low-scoring game.
Mabrey pitched 6⅓ innings before having to depart due to a pitch-count rule.
Harvill was summoned, and, with the Eagles (23-7) having loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, made a series of excellent pitches to strike out the final two batters and punch Carlsbad’s ticket to the final with an extraordinary save.
“We definitely were expecting a nail-biter,” Harvill said, “but we didn’t think it would be that bad.”
Carlsbad scored single runs in each of the first two innings.
Aiden Quintella drew a walk off Hobbs starter Colton Graham to open the bottom of the first, and came around to score three batters later on a fisted single to right by Mabrey.
In the second, the Cavemen had runners at first and third with one out, and Jeremyah Dominguez grounded to second. The Eagles tried to cut down Harvill — who had singled — at the plate, but the throw was not in time.
Hobbs broke through against Mabrey in the fourth as Easton Kuykendall singled home Marcos Alderete with two outs.
Mabrey struck out 13, but he also walked six, most of them in the middle innings.
“That’s probably not even close to one of his best games,” Carlsbad coach Cody May said. “He struggled to get ahead in the count and he struggled to throw strikes … but he was able to battle and get the outs he needed to.”
Hobbs stranded nine runners over the final four innings — six of them in scoring position.
“Coach May came out (in the sixth inning) and said I’m the man,” Mabrey said. “And I had to make myself believe it.”
This was what May said: “I told him, ‘You’re our guy. You’ve got to be able to suck it up right here.’ And he was able to get us (out of trouble).”
Hobbs was attempting to reach the state championship game for a second consecutive season. The Eagles lost to La Cueva in the final last year.
No. 2 SANDIA 3, No. 3 LA CUEVA 1: In the fifth meeting of the season between the rivals (it was 2-2 before Friday, with the Bears winning the first two and the Matadors the most recent two), Sandia scored a run in the fifth and two unearned runs in the seventh — all three runs coming with two outs — to advance to the program’s first title-game appearance in nine years.
“I couldn’t really hear anything, I was so excited,” said senior righty Jordan Martinez (5-2), who scattered seven hits in his complete game. “I lost my voice a little; that’s how you know it was a good game.”
Martinez and La Cueva lefty Max McGaha both held the other lineup scoreless through four innings, although the Bears had four hits in the first two at-bats.
In the top of the fifth, Damien Talamantes hit a ground single to center for Sandia. Elijah Bustillos, the 9-hole hitter — and a last-minute addition to the starting lineup because of an injury — doubled to right-center, scoring Talamantes.
“The pitch before, he threw me a fastball, and I knew I was gonna get a curveball,” Bustillo said. “I just had a feeling. And sure enough, it was hanging.”
La Cueva loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, although Sandia turned a 6-4-3 double play. With a runner at third, a passed ball on a swinging strike scored Jackson Kay to tie the game 1-1.
Talamantes reached on an error to start the seventh. Bustillo, with a superb bunt, moved him to second.
Two batters later, freshman Adriel Figueroa-Brito — “he’s a dawg,” Martinez marveled — doubled to deep left to score Talamantes.
“He’s special,” Eaton said. “He’s the best freshman in New Mexico. And he’s done that all year. He loves the stage.”
Aiden Griego singled home Figueroa-Brito moments later, and Martinez closed out the Bears in the bottom half.

CARLSBAD 2, HOBBS 1
Hobbs 000 100 0 — 1 5 0
Carlsbad 110 000 x — 2 5 1
Batteries: H, Colton Graham and Kenyon Singleton. C, Mack Mabrey, Grant Harvill (7) and Ty Molina. Win: Mabrey (10-1). Loss: Graham. Leading htters: H, Marcos Alderete 1-3, 2B, run. C, Harvill 2-2, 2B, run. Records: C 26-4; H 23-7.

SANDIA 3, LA CUEVA 1
Sandia 000 010 2 — 3 8 0
La Cueva 000 001 0 — 1 7 1
Batteries: S, Jordan Martinez and Danny Santiago. LC, Max McGaha, Tyler Manyo (7) and David Cooper. Win: Martinez (5-2). Loss: McGaha. Leading hitters: LC, Jackson Key 3-3, run. S, Aiden Griego 2-4, RBI; Elijah Bustillos 1-2, 2B, SAC, RBI. Records: S 22-7; LC 25-5.

 

2022 NMAA Baseball Championships 5A

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