Only half of the top four seeds at the Albuquerque Metro Softball Championships have made it to semifinal Friday.
No. 5 Cibola and No. 7 Albuquerque High posted upset victories in Thursday’s quarterfinals, and the Cougars and Bulldogs will join No. 1 La Cueva and No. 3 Volcano Vista in Friday’s semis.
AHS visits Volcano Vista, and Cibola is at La Cueva, both at 3:30 p.m. The championship game will be played at the site of the highest remaining seed at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Albuquerque High (8-3), fresh off a dramatic 11-10 victory over West Mesa in the first round on Wednesday, watched their standout, Jazmyn Griego, again carry the day in a 13-7 upset of No. 2 seed Cleveland.
Griego hit three home runs Wednesday, and she swatted a pair of two-run homers Thursday against the Storm (4-6). The latter came in a seven-run sixth inning, which sealed the deal in the upset win for AHS.
After the Bulldogs took a 1-0 lead in the second, Cleveland scored five times in the bottom half, highlighted by a 3-run double by Alivia Hughes.
Griego’s first homer came in the third. A two-run single by Natalia Padilla for the Bulldogs tied the score 5-5 in the fifth. The Storm retook the lead 6-5 in the bottom half.
Annika Stanley slashed a two-run double in the sixth to give the Bulldogs a 7-6 lead, and Griego added her second two-run homer later in the frame to make it 10-6.
• At La Cueva, the top-seeded Bears (6-1) beat No. 8 St. Pius (5-5) in a game called after five innings due to rain. The final was 9-5.
Addison Byers was 3-for-3 for La Cueva with three runs and three RBIs. Nadya Moreno also scored three runs with a pair of hits.
• At Volcano Vista, the Hawks, down a couple of starters, lived large on extra-base hits in a 10-0, five-inning victory over District 1-5A rival Atrisco Heritage (8-4), the 6 seed.
“We’ve faced some good competition in Centennial and (Piedra Vista) and our goal was just to try to compete and get better,” Hawks coach Desi Garcia said. “Our strength of schedule (has been) a 10-plus.”
Junior Sixx Arnold – a shortstop (position 6 on the scoresheet) who also wears No. 6 – smashed a two-RBI double to center in a three-run first inning for the Hawks (7-3) and also ripped a solo home run in the fourth for Volcano Vista.
“We’ve been swinging it really well,” Arnold said. “Practice, we’ve been going hard and we’ve been taking it to the game and doing good.”
Sophomore outfielder Kylie Taff belted a second-inning grand slam to straightaway center for the Hawks, who led 7-0 after two innings. Taff had five RB Is Thursday.
“I’ve been hitting the high pitches really well lately,” Taff said. “And that pitch was at my head and I really drove it.”
Freshman Audrey Gutierrez gave up two hits while striking out seven for Volcano Vista.
• At Eagle Ridge Middle School in Rio Rancho, the Cougars beat the fourth-seeded Rams (6-3) 12-3 to advance.
Jalyn Montes pitched six innings and also hit a two-run homer – she also hit a grand slam Wednesday in the first round – with three RBIs for Cibola (10-1). Zeyda Olvera had four hits and Krista Healy also homered for the second consecutive day for the Cougars.
Gary Herron from the Rio Rancho Observer contributed to this story.