Valencia County softball will finish strong as Los Lunas and Valencia are poised for a District 5-4A title game to conclude the regular season.
Heading to Thursday’s showdown, the two powerhouses didn’t disappoint.
On Friday, Los Lunas blasted through St. Pius with a 17-2 mercy-ruled win.
The Lady Tigers (17-7, 6-0) came out swinging, putting eight runs on the board in the first inning.
That proved to be their strongest offensive output, but they still scored nine more runs in the remainder of the game.
Sophomore pitcher Edyn Lopez helped hold the Lady Sartans to only two runs on the evening.
“Edyn does well,” said Los Lunas head coach Paul Cieremans. “She had some good movement on her pitches. Offensively, the girls hit the ball well.”
The Lady Tigers plowed through Grants in their next game, beating the Lady Pirates 23-0 on the road.
Their double-header at Cleveland High School was not reported until after the News-Bulletin deadline.
Heading into the Lady Tigers’ final regular season game, Cieremans expects a battle.
“Teams want to beat us,” said Cieremans. “They know we’re going to bring it, and we know they’re going to bring it…We still want to come out with that fire and desire.”
Last season, Valencia lost on their senior night by a score of 10-1. This year, the Lady Jags saw a different result and beat Belen 10-0.
The Lady Jaguars (14-11, 6-1) and Lady Eagles (12-13, 3-4) started things off slow. Neither squad scored in the first two innings.
However, senior Destiney Ward knocked out a three-run homer in the bottom of the third inning.
Defensively, junior Julie Logan led Valencia to a shutout by allowing only two Belen hits on the night.
“We had chances early, but only half of our lineup is producing,” said Belen head coach Joe Duran. “Other than that, I think they played well. They’re going to have to buckle down and make plays.”
In the bottom of the fifth, Valencia sealed their win. Senior Ashley Sutton got things rolling with a two-run triple. Logan followed Sutton with a two-run homer to put the game out of reach and force the mercy rule.
“(Logan) is the heart and soul of our team right now,” said Valencia head coach Jeff Young. “I’m happy for her and the rest of the team.”
Going into the district title game at Los Lunas, Young is hoping for a win. However, he said the team has already come a long way this season.
“Winning 14 game — that far exceeds my expectations,” said Young. “They knew they had a long road, and to see them have success is pretty cool.”
Los Lunas and Valencia will begin their District 5-4A title game at 6 p.m., Thursday.
On Monday, Belen hosted Pojoaque Valley, winning that game 16-5.
They followed their Monday win with another large victory over St. Pius, beating the Sartans 25-1 in Albuquerque on Tuesday.
Belen’s final regular season game will be at home against Grants at 6 p.m., Thursday.