Prep softball: Carlsbad, Gallup take home blue trophies - Albuquerque Journal

Prep softball: Carlsbad, Gallup take home blue trophies

About 30 minutes before the Carlsbad Cavegirls took the field for warmups ahead of Saturday’s Class 5A state softball championship game at UNM Field, the Sharpie came out.

And about 15 minutes before they started warming up, so did the tears.

“Yeah, those brats made me cry,” admitted Carlsbad coach Brian Santo.

Every player wrote 4-Brian on the side of their visor before the biggest softball game of their young lives in honor of the first-year coach, who spend 70 days hospitalized last fall with COVID, 36 of them while intubated, before being released Dec. 31.

After his Cavegirls rallied from an early deficit on Saturday before breaking things open in the fifth inning en route to a 13-6 win over Centennial for the program’s 17th state championship, it was hard to know if the moisture on Santo’s cheeks was more from tears or from the bucket of ice water his team poured on him.

“We’ve had so many games this year where we just break it out in one inning or two,” Santo said. “I mean it’s been that way all season. These girls, they’re scrappers.”

No. 2 Centennial (25-8) took a 4-2 lead in the first two innings, including a three-run bomb in the first inning off the bat of freshman Amanda Valles.

Top-seeded Carlsbad (30-1) broke a 5-5 tie in the fifth with a go-ahead RBI single from Aislenn Whitzel and later in the inning a three-run double from junior Faith Aragon, capping a five-run inning. Haiven Schoolcraft’s three-run bomb in the sixth brought the lead to 13-5.

But for the junior pitcher, the season was a success long before Saturday’s return to championship form for the Cavegirls, who hadn’t won a title in 12 years.

“We didn’t even expect him back for this season,” Schoolcraft said. “But then he came out to practice, in a wheelchair at first and he couldn’t walk. … But we watched him work so hard every single day to get back for us. So we all did this for Brian.”

2022 NMAA Softball Championships 5A
 

Class 4A

The eye-black highlighted with orange glitter on the cheeks of Seniah Haines was smudged.

It was hard to say if it was from the countless hugs she was receiving or the tears of joy she was sharing with teammates.

Either way, it was pretty much the only blemish of the day you could find on the Gallup sophomore ace, who led the No. 2 Bengals to a one-sided 8-0 win over No. 4 Lovington on Saturday afternoon at the UNM Softball Field.

Haines allowed just three hits and struck out six, facing just 24 batters over seven innings to deliver for the Bengals (24-7) the first softball championship in school history. Before 2021’s runner-up finish, they had never even made a title game.

“It seemed like we were just happy to be there last year,” said coach Crystal Pablo. “So this year was different because we had that experience and we knew what to expect. We just didn’t hold back. We just kept going.”

The Bengals jumped out to a four-run first- inning lead on the fourth-seeded Wildcats (23-9). Part of the early push was a double from senior center fielder Taylor Morgan, who had a double in the inning and homered in the second.

But as good as the offense was for the Bengals, on Saturday, one run would have been enough.

“It’s my defense, just my teammates,” Haines said when asked how she could be so confident pitching for her school’s first-ever championship. “We trust each other. Everything we do is for each other and for the little girls in Gallup who look up to us.”

2022 NMAA Softball Championships 4A

 

Home » From the newspaper » Prep softball: Carlsbad, Gallup take home blue trophies


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
A numbers game: How UNM has shifted toward Title ...
ABQnews Seeker
As the nation celebrated 50 years ... As the nation celebrated 50 years of Title IX, the University of New Mexico is still trying to add opportunities for female athletes.
2
Lobo women's hoops staff undergoes several changes
College
Keith Freeman showed up in Albuquerque ... Keith Freeman showed up in Albuquerque this week with much to learn and eager to get started. He spent Wednesday afternoon prepping for his ...
3
Briefs: Amateur golf, Gladiators football, youth soccer
Featured Sports
Aidan Thomas, the former St. Pius ... Aidan Thomas, the former St. Pius standout who will be a junior at New Mexico State, shot a 10-under par-62, bogey-free round Friday and ...
4
Virgen: Two NM stars and what might have been ...
Featured Sports
About a year ago, Aidan Krafft ... About a year ago, Aidan Krafft of Cibola High and Quinn Yost of Piedra Vista might have had Cherry a ...
5
United expects defensive battle vs. 'really talented' Birmingham
Featured Sports
Birmingham has won three straight, holds ... Birmingham has won three straight, holds a playoff position and is coming off a win over Eastern Conference-leading Memphis
6
UNM has its three opponents for November's Lobo Classic
College
UNM's first in-season home tournament in ... UNM's first in-season home tournament in 15 years to be held Nov. 25-27 at the Pit
7
UNM law grad Shapiro balances academics, big-time Ironman competitions
Featured Sports
Whatever Athena Shapiro does at the ... Whatever Athena Shapiro does at the World Triathlon Championships on Saturday in Montreal, it will be hard to top what she accomplished in a ...
8
Stewart, Cey, Moots going into ABQ Pro Baseball Hall ...
ABQnews Seeker
Two World Series MVPs and the ... Two World Series MVPs and the creator of the Albuquerque Dukes logo will be inducted into the Albuquerque Professional Baseball Hall of Fame.
9
Combat sports notes: 'Cowboy' tries again, to fight on ...
Boxing/MMA
Edgewood resident Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, denied ... Edgewood resident Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, denied a fight by food poisoning in May and by a freak in ...