By Arnie Leshin
For those who haven’t noticed, there will be a district 2-3A school playing for the state baseball championship, maybe two. In this afternoon’s qu4-quarterfinals at Rio Rancho Cleveland, 3rd seeded West Las Vegas faces 7th seeded NMMI at noon, and at 3, its top seeded Robertson versus St. Michael’s.
Can NMMI, which upset 2nd seeded East Mountain, 14-5, on Thursday, spoil what could be an all district 2 final? Not if the Dons have something to say about it. Can Robertson turn back the Horsemen for the third time?
Offense, that’s what St. Michael’s is displaying, as in scoring 47 times over the last three starts. Defense, that’s what the stingy Cardinals are doing now and during the regular season. They gave up only a 3A high of 66 runs. Lately, they shut out district foe Santa Fe Indian School, 4-0, Thursday after blanking visiting Tularosa twice in the first round.
But Robertson (21-7-1), which has won its last 10, has never made it to the baseball final four. St. Michael’s, WLV, and NMMI and have been there, all getting to hoist the championship “blue trophy.”
The Horsemen (19-9-1) routed 12th seeded Dexter, 13-3, Thursday, scoring once in the first after the Demons did the same, then, after Dexter went ahead 3-1 in the top of the second inning, back came St. Michael’s to grab a 4-3 lead that was never threatened, adding two runs in the fifth and seven in the sixth to have the 10-run mercy-rule applied. The Demons finished at 12-14.
That’s 47 runs in the last three outings for the Horsemen. And the Cardinals shut down the Braves and needed only their two runs in the last of the second, and one each in the fourth and sixth. It ended the Indian School season at 17-12. Robertson shut out a dozen teams, but lost four out of seven one-run tests, although two of these wins came in forfeits over district foe Santa Fe Prep.
West Las Vegas (20-6), which nipped its cross town rival, 2-1 at home and 2-1 at Robertson the last time they played, had a real tight one with Cobre before prevailing 2-1 to eliminate the 6thseed. The teams were deadlocked at 1-1 after two innings, and the Dons scored the go-ahead run in the top of the fifth to end Cobre’s campaign at 19-8.
NMMI (21-9) surprised East Mountain (21-8), 14-5 after taking 2-of-3 from 10th seeded Albuquerque Sandia Prep in the first round. Now it tries to cancel out an all district final.