Mike Powers| News-Bulletin photos
Belen’s Araceli Franco is welcomed at home plate by teammates after hitting a home run Thursday against Valencia. BHS is seeded 8th in the 4A State Softball Championship.

The softball season continues for both Belen and Los Lunas, with each earning spots in the NMAA State Championships.  

In 4A, BHS (17-9) received an eight seed and will host No. 9 Valley. In 5A, No. 11 LLHS (17-7) travels to No. 6 Carlsbad, the defending champion. Both play-in games are at 6 p.m. Friday.   

Belen will host softball and baseball tournament games Friday at the same time.  

Steven Contreras, Belen Consolidated Schools athletic coordinator, says the same entrances as always will be used and fans can go back and forth between contests. Admission is free.   



While the pairing against Valley (18-8) was not a surprise for Belen, it had to make Eagles coach Oscar Medrano cringe a little bit. After all, Medrano coached at Valley for 17 years before taking over the BHS program this season.  

“It’s a hard feeling because I was there so long,” Medrano admitted. “You want to beat them and all that, but I still have a lot of strong attachments and connections to Valley.”  

An earlier meeting this season against the Vikings may have helped prepare Medrano for the elimination game. BHS visited Valley in March, falling 8-7 when the Vikings scored four times in the seventh inning.  

“I like our chances; I’ll be honest with you,” Medrano said Sunday following the release of the bracket. “Our hitting has been really good this year and our defense has improved tremendously.”  

The Eagles will count on pitchers Lorissa Scott and Denae Chavira to keep the score tight.   

Belen tied with St. Pius for the District 4-5A championship, and when the teams were deadlocked after the tiebreakers, the Sartans won a coin flip for the title. That opened the door for St. Pius to grab a higher seed, at number four.  

“I think the seedings are great for us, to be honest with you,” Medrano said. “We’re a different team than when we saw (Valley) the last time. We’re in a good spot.” 


Sarah Love makes a diving catch Saturday at third base for Los Lunas against Albuquerque High. The Tigers earned a number 11 seed in the 5A State Softball Championship.

Los Lunas 

The Tigers aren’t content to just be in the 5A field, but there is some relief. After all, LLHS was a bubble team last year and was left out of the bracket after losing a doubleheader to Albuquerque High on the final day of the regular season.  

This year, Los Lunas split with AHS on Saturday, to finish the campaign tied with the Bulldogs for the District 5-5A championship.  However, AHS captured the title because of run-differential.   

“We should be in, but you never know,” Tigers coach Patrick Ortiz said about waiting to find out about the pairings. “We were kind of confident we were going to be in it. We just wanted to be sure.”  

Now, LLHS heads to Carlsbad (17-9.)  

“We played them in the Rio Rancho tournament. We played them really well,” Ortiz said of their March 28 meeting.  

The Cavegirls won 12-4, but 11 of the runs came in one inning.   

“The girls are confident, they’re happy. We can matchup against them.”  

Ortiz anticipates facing Carlsbad pitcher Kalion Fuentes, who had seven strikeouts in the first meeting.  

“She has a good rise ball, throws pretty hard. I think we’ve seen quality pitching all year long and I think we’re going to be ready for her this time around.”    

The Tigers ended the season with 11 victories in 12 games.  

“We’re just excited we’re in there. We’re ready to go,” said Ortiz. 



The Jaguars finished the season with a 5-17 record but rallied to post a 4-4 mark in District 5-4A. VHS fell to Belen 15-0 to conclude the season. 

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Mike Powers spent more than 40 years as a television news and sports anchor, mostly in the Albuquerque market. He has won numerous awards including New Mexico Sportscaster of the Year. He covers a wide range of sports, including the Valencia County prep scene.