Prep softball: Volcano Vista wins 9-inning marathon - Albuquerque Journal

Prep softball: Volcano Vista wins 9-inning marathon

Volcano Vista’s Luciana Apodaca slides into home plate during Tuesday’s game against Cibola. (Jon Austria/Albuquerque Journal)

Volcano Vista’s softball team beat a race toward darkness and the Cibola Cougars on Tuesday.

The Hawks and Cougars battled for 3 hours and 6 minutes in a wildly entertaining District 1-5A opener, but Volcano Vista, with four runs in the top of the ninth inning — the Hawks were fortunate just to get to extra innings — eventually left Cibola behind with a crazy 20-17 victory.

“It was a hard-fought game and a well deserved win for us,” said Volcano Vista senior center fielder Shay Saladin, who belted a three-run home run on a full count in the top of the ninth for a 20-16 lead, and that swing ultimately was the difference. “It was nice to come out on top finally.”

The Hawks (11-6) overcame deficits of four runs and five runs — they trailed 14-9 starting the seventh inning — in this unlikely win.

“This is a scrappy group of kids,” Volcano Vista coach Desi Garcia said. “They have a lot of heart, they have a lot of desire, and they fought and battled. I’m so proud of them.”

There were enough twists and turns to fill five normal games as the top two ranked teams in the district — Cibola came in rated No. 8 in Class 5A, Volcano Vista No. 9 — traded body blows.

Cibola led early 4-0 on the strength of Anna Barraza’s three-run first-inning homer.

But when this game hit the bottom of the fourth, Volcano Vista was in front 8-4. The Hawks scored seven runs in the third inning alone, with the help of some poor Cibola defense. Saladin hit a two-RBI single in that rally that made it 7-4.

In the bottom half of the fourth, Cibola scored four times to square the game at 8-all. Jalyn Montes scored two runs on a double to left center for the Cougars.

In the top of the sixth, Mac Vela turned on a pitch to start the inning, homering just inside the left-field foul pole for a 9-8 Volcano Vista edge.

And from there, the tension in this game seemed to increase almost exponentially.

Montes pounded the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth for a solo homer of her own to tie the game 9-9. Cibola (13-3) also tacked on five additional runs, including freshman Vanessa Romero’s two-run single.

But the 14-9 Cibola lead evaporated. An RBI double by Saladin cut the deficit to 14-10 early in the seventh. Sixx Arnold’s three-RBI triple to right-center three batters later cut the margin to 14-13. A fielder’s choice tied the game.

Both teams scored twice in the eighth.

METROS: The resumption of the baseball and softball title games in the Albuquerque Metro Championships have been set.

The metro softball final between Volcano Vista and La Cueva will resume at 4 p.m. Wednesday, with the visiting Hawks leading 8-5 in the bottom of the fifth with the Bears still batting. Freshman Audrianna Jim, who threw every pitch for Volcano Vista on Tuesday, will be back in the circle Wednesday.

“I think we’ll be fine, honestly,” Saladin said. “We should have just as much energy, if not more energy, tomorrow.”

The metro baseball final at Rio Rancho between the Rams and La Cueva will pick up where it left off at 4 p.m. Thursday. Rio Rancho leads 12-5 in the top of the fifth, but the Bears have the bases loaded with one out.

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