Gabaldon suffers season-ending injury during Arizona tourney

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The trip to Bullhead, Ariz., could have a greater impact on the rest of the Class 4A softball season than most would have thought.

During the weekend Tournament of Champions that featured some of the best teams in the west, Los Lunas senior all-state pitcher D'Ana Gabaldon suffered a season-ending injury when she broke her leg during the Friday game with Cienega of Vail, Ariz.

Rain had caused the venue to be switched to the city softball fields and Gabaldon went down in pain trying to judge a fly ball between first base and the pitching circle. As she planted her foot to make the catch, her ankle gave way.

Gabaldon will be out for the rest of the year, including the state playoffs, said coach Paul Cieremans.

"I feel bad for her, because it is her senior year," said Cieremans. "Angela (Duran) will do a good job on the mound for us and we have a lot of seniors on this team."

Los Lunas went 1-3 in the series but did get a win over Farmington on Saturday, 8-1.

Valencia continued to show that they could be the team to challenge the Tigers in District 6-4A. Coach Jeff Young contends that not much has changed, even with Gabaldon being lost for the season.

"Los Lunas is the team to beat," said Young. "They have so much senior leadership on that team, that they will be alright."

Valencia swept Aztec on Saturday in two thrilling games at the Jags' home field. Valencia won the opener 11-6 and then came from behind in the seventh inning to beat the defending state runner-ups, 7-6.

The Jags also took a home 9-2 win over Moriarty on Friday.

Class 4A Belen saw their win streak end at three with a 12-1 loss at Class 5A West Mesa on Saturday.

It will be a busy week for area softball teams, starting with Tuesday's scheduled West Mesa visit to Valencia. The game was played after News-Bulletin press time.

Valencia also has a trip to the Aztec tournament this weekend. The Jags open against Farmington on Thursday.

Los Lunas is set to host Santa Fe on Wednesday and Albuquerque High on Thursday. Both games are slated for a 4 p.m. first pitch.

Belen will try and get back on the winning track when Rio Rancho visits the Eagles' nest for a 4 p.m. game on Thursday.

Valencia 11, Aztec 6

The Jags jumped out to a surprising 11-2 lead with four run innings in both the fourth and fifth. Erin Sharpe and Dayanna Iturralde both homered to build the lead.

But the defending state runner-ups did not quit. They tallied four runs in the top of the seventh before Young called a time out to settle his team.

"We kind of relaxed," said Young. "That shows our youth that we did not put them away."

He noted that they could see the Tigers again this weekend in the Aztec tournament.

"They only lost one player from last year's runner-up team," said Young. "They have pitching and hitting and everything. They will want to see us again in their tournament this weekend."

Duran got the win to put her record at 2-0 for the year.

Valencia 7, Aztec 6

It looked like the Tigers would split the double-header with Valencia as Aztec took a 6-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh.

But after tying the game up, Sharpe hit a single that moved Alisha Vigil to third.

The Jags had scored on the double steal in the game before. This time, Young had a different idea.

"We had some success on them in the first-and-third situation," said Young. "I told Erin that we would sell it, but not to do anything so we could let Dayanna hit."

She faked a move to second and Aztec cut the throw off at the pitching circle. But no one covered second, allowing Sharpe to advance.

The move unnerved the Aztec infield and Iturralde scored the winning run on a pop-up that the shortstop let drop.

"It was kind of a gift," said Young of the Tiger miscue.

Duran got her third win of the season, this time in relief of Sharpe, who pitched five-and-a-third innings.

Los Lunas 8, Farmington 1

The Tigers broke open a 2-1 game with five runs in the fifth inning to take a win over Farmington.

All of the runs came before the Scorpions could retire a batter in the inning.

Mykayla Moody led off with a single. Jerrica Chavez was safe on a pitcher's error and Angela Duran blasted one out of the park to score both base runners.

The Tigers added two more runs in the pivotal inning and another run in the sixth to take the win.

California (Whittier, Calif. ) 5, Los Lunas 1

Los Lunas scored their only run of the game in the top of the sixth inning after falling behind, 5-0, to the team from Whittier, Calif.

Chavez got aboard with a walk and then stole second. Duran singled, but Chavez could not score on the quick throw back to the infield.

She was able to reach home plate on Cienna Thompson's single in the next at-bat. Duran took the loss on the hill, going the distance.

West Mesa 12, Belen 1

The Mustangs put together 14 hits and scored five runs each in the fourth and fifth innings to break open a close 2-1 game. It was Belen's first loss, after opening the season with three wins.

No other information was available at press time.

Valencia 9, Moriarty 2

Erin Sharpe and Dayanna Iturralde led the offense and Miranda Connelly struck out nine Pintos, while scattering eight hits.

"Miranda threw an excellent game," said Young. "All of our pitchers are doing great."

After taking a 4-0 lead, Moriarty scored two runs in the fourth inning to tighten the game back to 4-2.

Valencia got a couple of runs in the fifth and added three more in the sixth to extend the lead to 9-2.

Connelly picked up her first win of the season.

Cienega (Vail, Ariz.) 5,

Los Lunas 0

Duran picked up the loss after Gabaldon went down in the third inning.

Cienega went on to win the consolation final of the Tournament of Champions. They are 12-1 this season.

Los Lunas 9, Lake Havasu 0

Los Lunas got their only win of the Tournament of Champions with a three-inning victory in which they scored all of their runs in the second inning.

Analiese Medeiros got a key sacrifice to start the scoring. Her ground-out allowed Hannah Wood to score from third.

The big hit of the inning came from Chavez. Her inside-the-park home run scored Ali Madrid and Moody.

Duran got her first win of the year to even her record at 1-1.


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