Ashley Sutton

Valencia senior Ashley Sutton takes the plate on Friday.

The Lady Tigers and Jaguars wrapped up their seasons with a trip to Cleveland High in Rio Rancho for the 2019 NMAA State Softball Championships.

Los Lunas (21-9, 8-0) and Valencia (15-14, 6-2) kicked off their tourney games at 8:30 a.m., Thursday.

Valencia took on top-ranked Artesia, falling to the Bulldogs 2-0. A few hours later, the Lady Jaguars took on Lovington. In a tight battle, they fell 7-6 in the eighth inning and were thus eliminated from the tournament.

“We gave both of those teams everything they could handle,” said Valencia head coach Jeff Young. “The kids never quit and they fought until the end.”

The Lady Jaguars will graduate four seniors this year as Destiney Ward, Janessa Otero, Ashley Sutton and Kimberly Logan move on. They will return a strong group in 2020, including junior standout Julie Logan.

Meanwhile, Los Lunas blasted through their first round of the tournament, crushing Portales 17-0 on Thursday morning. The Lady Tigers took on Aztec that afternoon and suffered their first tourney loss after a walk-off home run gave Aztec a 10-7 victory.

Los Lunas Team

Los Lunas softball celebrates following a home run at the state tournament in Rio Rancho.

The next morning, Los Lunas faced Lovington. Though the Lady Tigers held a 4-0 lead in the first inning, Lovington struck back with three runs of their own in the bottom of the second. The lead changed a few more times before Lovington pulled away with a 9-7 victory, thus eliminating the Lady Tigers.

“I’m proud of the girls,” said Los Lunas head coach Paul Cieremans. “Things didn’t go our way, but the girls fought and never gave up. I’m sad to see our seniors graduate, but I am looking forward to next year.”

The Lady Tigers will graduate only three seniors — Kylie Perez, Olivia Lopez and Marissa Weldon. With such a young squad, Cieremans is confident with their chances in 2020.

“The chemistry our team has is great,” said Cieremans.

The 4A NMAA State Softball Championship game came down to Artesia and Silver. Artesia pulled away with a 10-2 victory.

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