LLHS’ Moody earns MVP as South all-stars win series

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

Los Lunas High’s Mykayla Moody earned Most Valuable Player honors and joined teammates Jerrica Chavez, Nikki Hathoot and D’Ana Gabaldon to lead the South squad to a 2-1 series win over the North in the New Mexico High School Coaches Association 4A/5A State Softball All-Star series in Farmington June 14 and 15.

MYKAYLA MOODY: All-stars Most Valuable Player

The South won game one Friday 7-6 in large part to Moody, who hit a three-run home run and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh inning as the South erased a 4-1 North lead with five runs in the top of the seventh, capped by Moody’s blast over the left-field fence.

The North rallied in game two of the series, winning 13-7. But the South dominated in game three, defeating the South 21-8 to win the series.

“Mykalya had a great weekend,” said LLHS head coach Paul Cieremans, who coached the South squad along with assistants Lawrence Sanchez and Desi Garcia. “She had quite a few RBIs and came up with key hits at the right time. She played good defense all weekend and was a leader on the team.”

Cieremans also had praise for Hathoot and Chavez, who both contributed with key RBIs and stellar defense of their own.

Hathoot was a late callup for the all-star series while Gabaldon, who had her prep career ended with a broken leg late in the 2013 season, was an honorary member of the team and threw out the first pitch.

Cieremans said having the four players on the team was a testament to their leadership for the Tigers softball team the last few seasons.

‘They’re definitely great kids who worked hard and had good high school careers,” Cieremans said. “I think the coaches saw how hard they worked and rewarded them.”

Cieremans said coaching the all-star team, which was made up of players from the state’s top two classifications, 4A and 5A, was an honor as well.

“The girls had great time and we’ll all remember it for a long time,” Cieremans said. “I know the coaching staff will (remember it) for a while. We had a lot of fun coaching the girls.”

Moody will now go on to start her collegiate career next season at Lamar Community College in Lamar, Colo., after signing a national letter of intent with the school at the end of the 2013 prep season.

On signing with Lamar, Moody said once she visited the school and was able to show her skills, “it just felt very welcoming and comforting to me.

“I knew right away that it didn’t matter if it was a (Division I) school or a junior college, I just knew I was going to fit in and play the sport I love,” Moody said.

“I’m proud of her,” Cieremans said. “She is a hard worker. She’s a great high school player and if she keeps her head in it and works hard, she can be a great collegiate player as well.”

Lamar’s Runnin’ Antelopes play in Division I of the National Junior College Athletic Association. The team finished 22-35 in 2013 and 11-12 in conference play in Region 9, which includes schools in Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and eastern Montana.

According to its website, Lamar players have gone on to play at NCAA Division I schools like the University of Colorado, Brigham Young University and the University of New Mexico as well as NCAA Division II schools like West Texas A&M University, Adams State (Colo.) College and Western New Mexico University.