Awards recap: Lady Tigers, Jaguar baseball players lead the way

........................................................................................................................................................................................

Valencia baseball and Los Lunas softball garnered the most recognition of any county teams in post-season awards, on the recently released New Mexico Coaches Association Class 4A All-State team, but no one held a candle to state champions Piedra Vista.

The Panthers placed seven players on the 16-man roster, including Player of the year Shilo McCall. The PV senior was drafted in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball draft on June 4 by the San Francisco Giants.

Los Lunas and Piedra Vista dominated the Class 4A softball world. The Tigers placed four on the first team, while PV had five players make the 10-player roster.

Los Lunas’ D’Ana Gabaldon and PV’s Krissy Fortner were named as the only pitchers to the NMHSCA first team. First baseman Mykayla Moody, second baseman Cienna Thompson and outfielder Nikki Hathoot were the other all-state selections from the Tiger squad that went 23-2 in the regular season, including an undefeated 10-0 record in District 6-4A play. Losses to Piedra Vista and Atrisco Heritage eliminated Los Lunas from the state tournament.

District 6-4A player of the year Gabaldon led the Tigers in post-season awards, named to the all-district first team as a pitcher. Moody, Thompson and Hathoot were the all-district selections at their all-state positions and Jacklynn Sanchez made all-district as an outfielder. Third baseman Alli Madrid, shortstop Jackie Jiron and catcher Amanda Gonzales were named to the all-district second team. Outfielder Samantha Lucero rounded out the Tiger’s honorees as an honorable mention all-district outfielder.

For Los Lunas, it was the rare feat of all nine starters receiving post-season honors. All will be back next season as Los Lunas did not have a senior on their roster.

Valencia almost matched Los Lunas softball feats on the baseball diamond, going 9-1 in district play and reaching the state Class 4A semifinals before falling to Miyamura, 6-4. The Jaguars were 14-9 in the regular season.

Jorge Venagas was the only Jaguar named to the 4A all-state first team. Venagas went 7-3, including a 5-2 win over St. Pius in the state quarterfinals.

Pitcher Robert Carrasco and outfielder Cody Koontz made second team all-state. Venagas, as a second baseman, and designated hitter Ryan Garcia were honorable mention.

Venagas and Gadsden’s Mark McCool were the only players named all-state at two positions.

Senior Hunter Blaylock of Belen was the only other county player to be named to the all-state team as the second team catcher. Blaylock will take his talents to University of New Mexico next year, probably as a middle infielder. The Eagle catcher was also named to the State Farm All-Metro first team, the all-district first team and as the Eagles’ Outstanding All-metro Senior Athlete. He also played for the south squad in the annual senior all-star game in Las Cruces.

Valencia received plenty of post-season recognition, including the player of the year in Venagas and the coach of the year Carlos Carrasco. Venegas was named first team all district as both a pitcher and at second base, first team all-metro pitcher and was named to the south all-star team, but did not play.

Pitcher Robert Carrasco, third baseman Cade Garcia, outfielders Ryan Garcia and Cody Koontz were all named to the first team all-district.

Carrasco also got an honorable mention as an all-district shortstop, was named to the second team all-metro as a pitcher and gained honorable mention at shortstop, and played in the North-South all-star series.

Ryan Garcia, as designate hitter, and Koontz, as an outfielder, was named to the second team all-metro. Koontz was named as an alternate to the south all-star team.

Pitcher Cade Garcia, first baseman Joe Salas, and utility player Tyler Klien were named to the second team all-district. Salas, Klien and Garcia made second team all-metro as well. Jude Pepke was named to the all-metro second team and was named the outstanding senior athlete. He also was an honorable mention all-district selection, as was Salas as a pitcher. Outfielder Chris Waltman was also an honorable mention all-district selection.

While the Tigers did not place anyone on the all-state team, they did have several players recognized on all-district and all-metro teams.

First team all-district selections for Los Lunas, who took Albuquerque Academy to the very brink of elimination in the state baseball tournament first round, included pitchers Isaac Parra and Cody Reynolds, and utility player Mario Legarda. Reynolds was recognized twice on the first team, as he was also named at first base.

Reynolds (second team) and Legarda (first team) were also all-metro selections and were selected on the all-star roster. Reynolds played in the annual series and Legarda was an alternate. Reynolds also received an honorable mention at first base during the all-metro awards.

Ruger Rodriguez was named to the second team all-district as a pitcher and outfielder for Los Lunas. Parra was named to the second team as a third baseman.

Shortstop Greg Wortman, second baseman John Rivera and outfield Darron Gallegos were all honorable mention all-district selections.

Rodriguez was an honorable mention all-metro selection, and Jake Lawrence was named the senior outstanding athlete.

In addition to Blaylock’s awards, Belen’s C.J. Newey was honored as a first team all-district outfielder and as an all-metro honorable mention.

First baseman Joe Castillo was named to the second team all-district and received an honorable mention at the all-metro awards. Outfielder Andrew Castillo, pitchers Tim Vialpando and Lucas Gonzales were also named to the all-district second team.

Valencia softball finished a 13-12 season with a loss in the first round of the state playoffs at Aztec. Senior shortstop Molly Holliday, third baseman Erin Sharpe and catcher Raquel Lopez were named to the first team all-district. Pitcher Amber Baca and outfielder Christina Griego were second team honorees, and outfielder Marisol Martinez and designated hitter Kayla Young were honorable mention selections.

Holliday and Lopez both played for the south in the NMHSCA’s North-South all-star series, held in Farmington.

Belen’s Snoie Vallejos played several positions throughout a tumultuous season and she was named to the second team all-district as a utility player. Pitcher Emma Gonzales and third baseman Alex Baca received honorable mention all-district recognition.


-- Email the author at mstearns@news-bulletin.com.