Los Lunas, Valencia trail Rio Rancho at Kristen Griego
If not for host Rio Rancho, the title for the annual Kristen Griego softball tournament held at Rio Rancho this past weekend could have come down to a Valencia County affair.
But the Rams ran roughshod over the field, downing Valencia, 20-2 in the semifinals and winning the event over Miyamura 19-4.
Miyamura beat Los Lunas in somewhat of an upset, 5-4, in the other semifinal.
The county schools met for third place, with Los Lunas coming out on top, 4-2.
Angela Duran got the third-place win over the Jags. Catcher Amanda Gonzales hit the game-winning two run homer in the top of the fifth inning.
Valencia took the lead in the bottom of the second on a solo home run off the bat of Amber Baca.
The 2-1 lead lasted until the top of the fourth, when Los Lunas scored a run on an error that allowed Nikki Hathoot to reach first and Jackie Jiron to score.
Both clubs scored in the first inning, with Hathoot scoring on first baseman Kayla Young's throwing error.
Valencia got back the run in the bottom of the first inning when Marissa Kitteridge singled home Erin Sharpe. The game was tied, 1-1.
Valencia had a chance to win the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when they loaded the bases with no outs.
Young hit into a double play and Dayanna Iturralde hit a pop-up two pitches later to give the Tigers the win.
"We had the same situation as the day before, and Kayla grounded in to a double play," said coach Jeff Young, remembering his daughter's three-run homer that beat Oñate.
"It just goes to show you that one day you can hit a home run and be the hero and the next day can be the goat."
The blast against the Knights came with the Jags down 8-6 after blowing a 6-0 lead.
"Kayla hit a three-run home run to win the game," said coach and father Jeff Young. "I am happy for our kids not to quit."
Valencia beat Navajo Prep, 16-1, in the opening game of the tournament on Friday by exploding for 15 runs in the second inning. The game only went three innings.
The Jags were on the other side of the mercy-rule against the host Rams in Saturday's semifinal.
Rio Rancho scored four runs in each of the first three innings and put an eight-spot on the board in the fourth.
Valencia had beaten Rio Rancho in the first game of the season, 3-2.
"We weren't the same team, that is what it boils down to," said Young of the Ram's domination. "I knew their speed was very dangerous.
"They get people on base and they are starting to play with some confidence."
Los Lunas opened the tournament with a 24-3 win over Rio Grande in four innings.
The Tigers then posted an 8-1 win over Aztec to meet Miyamura in the semifinals.
The Tigers were actually down, 1-0, coming into the top of the final inning. Los Lunas responded with three home runs in the inning to post the 8-1 final.
Gonzales hit a three-run shot and Jerrica Chavez belted a two-run homer to make it 5-1.
Angela Duran, the winning pitcher, added a solo shot to add to the final total.
Mykayla Moody and Cienna Thompson scored the final two runs of the inning.