Class 4A baseball: Champion St. Pius peaks in timely fashion - Albuquerque Journal

Class 4A baseball: Champion St. Pius peaks in timely fashion


Members of the St. Pius baseball team celebrate their win over Albuquerque Academy to capture the state championship in Class 4A on Saturday at UNM. . (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Mid-April was what Gene Trujillo guessed.

It was even later than that, his coach, Matt McCoy, said.

“It just wasn’t clicking for us,” McCoy said. This was true, he said, even into the latter stages of April and the eve of this postseason.

Whenever it happened for the St. Pius X baseball team, there was exquisite timing to this gear change.

Indeed, the Sartans’ narrative changed lanes within the last several weeks, hitting a new gear in May, and finished Saturday morning with a Class 4A state championship at Santa Ana Star Field, with the No. 2 seed beating rival Albuquerque Academy 7-2 to complete a back-to-back title run.

“It’s wonderful,” said senior right-handed pitcher Evan Taylor (5-0), who tossed a fantastic complete game for the Sartans (22-5).

Taylor was easily the surprise star of this final, which for the third straight season featuring the private school rivals.

Taylor was summoned to close St. Pius’ 12-10 semifinal victory Friday against Valley, and he was clutch, striking out the only two batters he faced.

“When I saw him walk off the field (Friday), there was no doubt in my mind who we were handing the ball to today,” McCoy said. “We knew he could do that, that was his capability, that was within his wheelhouse.”

The rave reviews poured in from Taylor’s teammates.

“He hasn’t had that mentality,” said Sartans designated hitter Cohen Mulville, who drove in two runs with a third-inning double. “But something lit the fire and he brought it.”

Shortstop Lucas Martinez, who had a two-run, inside-the-park home run right after Mulville delivered two runs on that double, said: “That’s the best I’ve seen Evan pitch all year. It was amazing to watch.”

Future Lobo Gene Trujillo, who closed his St. Pius career with an opposite-field triple to left, added: “I’m glad Evan found that dawg in him. We had just been looking for him to flip that switch and get that killer instinct, and today he for sure had it.”

St. Pius had a first-inning run against the eighth-seeded Chargers (18-11) on a passed ball, but it was the four-run third that gave Taylor a nice cushion.

Martinez’s blazing wheels provided the memorable moment on a ball he hit over the right fielder’s head.

“I was thinking I had (a triple) for sure, then I see coach McCoy halfway down the line (waving me in),” Martinez said. “I was like, oh man, I gotta make it.”

Miguel Sena added a two-RBI single from the 9 hole in the fifth inning for a 7-0 lead. Academy, which upset No. 1 Grants and No. 5 Artesia in the previous two rounds, generated nothing Saturday outside of its two runs in the top of the sixth.

“Playing against Valley, I came in, two runners on base and no outs, me closing like that led to that momentum coming into this game, and I knew my teammates would have my back,” Taylor said. And Friday’s taste was beneficial. “It took all the nerves I had yesterday out.”

As for St. Pius finding that special chemistry late in the season, Trujillo said it made all the difference.

“We started to come together as a team, we bonded way more,” he said. “I think that’s what turned us around and turned us into the team we are today.”


Academy 000 002 0 — 2 8 1

St. Pius 104 020 x — 7 8 0

Batteries: AA, Michelangelo Duva, Luke Laskey (3) and Satish Raichur. SP, Evan Taylor and JoFrank Ortiz. Win: Taylor (5-0). Loss: Duva. Leading hitters: AA, Duva 2-4, 2B, RBI; Raichur 2-4, 2B; Ryan Williams 2-3, 2B, RBI. SP, Cohen Mulville 2-3, 2B, 2RBIs; Lucas Martinez 1-3, HR, 2RBIs.


2023 Nusenda Credit Union State Baseball Championships 4A


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