By Arnie Leshin
Can the law of averages favor 8th-seeded Santa Fe Indian School when it faces top-seeded, District 2-3A rival St. Michael’s Thursday in the state baseball quarterfinals at RIo Rancho Cleveland?
This will be the fourth time they have met up and no doubt the chili-hot Horsemen have dominated with a pair of run-rule wins at the Braves and a 7-3 triumph in the regular-season finale at the Christian Brother Athletic Complex with the district title already clinched.
While St. Michael’s drew a first-round bye, Indian School advanced by taking 2-of-3 from district foe West Las Vegas. The Braves are 16-12 overall and the Horsemen 19-6, have won seven straight and 14 of their last 15, and in quest of their initial 20-win campaign in quite some time.
Head coach Augustin Ruiz has never gained the state final while at St. Michael’s, but did get that far while at the helm of 2A Pecos before losing to Texico.
If he gets past the Braves again, he will get his team to the semifinals played at Rio Rancho High Friday versus the survivor of the quarters contest pairing 4th-seeded district rival Robertson (16-7) against 5th-seeded East Mountain (17-7) also at Cleveland.
But right now the attention is on the game against Indian School, with a scheduled starting time at 4 p.m. At 1 is when Robertson and East Mountain are slated to make the first pitch. The Cardinals received a first-round bye and the Timberwolves swept 12th-seeded Hatch Valley twice in the opening round.
In the rest of the bracket also contested at Cleveland, 3rd-seeded New Mexico Military Institute (20-6) play 6th-seeded Cobre (17-9), which eliminated 13th-seeded Zuni in a pair of run-rule contests.
The 2nd-seeded Albuquerque Sandia Prep (18-5) goes against 7th-seeded Raton (10-13), the fourth District 2 team still in the hunt after ousting 10th-seeded Navajo Prep twice in round one.
In the semis, game time is slated for a 4 p.m. start.
The championship game will be played Saturday and scheduled to start at 4 p.m.at the University of New Mexico Santa Ana Field.