LOS LUNAS — In what may be the first event of its kind in Valencia County, a collegiate fast pitch softball competition is coming to Los Lunas.
The South Central Regional Challenge will be held Feb. 3-5 at Los Lunas Sports Complex and includes Division II schools from New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and Canada.
Officials from Western New Mexico University, the host school, approached village of Los Lunas officials about using the new facilities.
“We are always looking to bring in new things. This was a no brainer,” said Marcos Castillo, Los Lunas recreation supervisor.
The eight schools will use two softball fields at the facility and each will play five games. Admission is free for what Castillo calls “top level softball.”
It will be a homecoming for Los Lunas High School graduate Alex Tenorio, who plays shortstop for Fort Lewis College.
“I was very surprised,” said Tenorio, a Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honorable mention selection. “To be honest, I didn’t even know there was a new complex here.”
The South Central Regional Challenge is moving to Los Lunas from the Albuquerque Regional Sports Complex. Castillo said officials at WNMU were looking for a new facility that was centrally located.
According to Castillo, the suggestion to check out the new fields in Los Lunas was made by former Valencia High School softball coach Jeff Young, who is now an assistant with the program at New Mexico State University.
In addition to Fort Lewis College and Western New Mexico University, the field of teams include New Mexico Highlands, CSU Pueblo, Adams State, University of Texas-Permian Basin, West Texas A&M and Simon Fraser University from British Columbia, Canada.
“It is very groundbreaking,” according to Tenorio, the Skyhawks’ MVP last year as a freshman and the Fort Lewis newcomer of the year for women’s athletics. “It should be good competition for us, especially the Texas teams. It will make us better.”
An exact schedule of games and times was not immediately available.
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.