LOS LUNAS—Enthusiastic crowds, spring-like weather and excellent competition highlighted the three-day South Central Regional Challenge collegiate fastpitch softball event at Los Lunas Sports Complex.

Los Lunas Sports Complex was the site for eight collegiate teams competing for the Central Regional Challenge. (
Mike Powers | News-Bulletin photos)

Ashley Hickman, coach of Western New Mexico University, the host school, had high praise for the community.

“It’s always a huge thing to take on and help out,” Hickman said about putting on an event of this size. “We are so grateful to be here, and we know you guys put a lot of work into this complex.”

Hickman said the crowds were much bigger in Los Lunas than they were in Albuquerque, where the tournament was held in 2022.

Sara Trujillo, of Los Lunas, brought her daughter as part of a team bonding day for the New Mexico Coyotes club team.

“It’s been great so far. It’s been nice to get a feel for the new facilities and see some great, great softball,” Trujillo said.

Alex Tenorio, Fort Lewis College shortstop, enjoyed her return home to Los Lunas as she played in the South Central Regional Challenge.

One of the players to watch was Fort Lewis College shortstop Alex Tenorio, of Los Lunas.

“This is amazing,” Tenorio said. “Being back home, but also playing college ball. It’s crazy.”

The future of the Challenge is not clear, but if it is held again, the village of Los Lunas would be in the running as host city.

“There is definitely a chance it could come back,” according to Hickman. “We’ve already been in the works, talking about some stuff to bring it back again.”

This was the first action of the year for the eight Division II teams, which came from New Mexico, Texas, Colorado and British Columbia, Canada.

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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.