ALAMOSA — The stage is set for regional baseball competition. The pigtail round is complete and the survivors are Center and South Park. Three seed Southpark dispatched Del Norte by a score of 17-4. Center edged Custer County to advance with a 6-4 score meaning Saturday’s matchups are cemented.
The tournament will begin at 9 a.m. with the 1-5 meeting, the 2-3 and ensuing championship games to follow.
5. Center vs. 1. Sanford
The underdog Center Vikings upended Custer County thanks to consistent scoring all game long. The Vikings would outpace the host Bobcats to a 5-2 lead in the first four innings. A late push from Custer County would not be enough stay alive in the tournament. Center’s Adrian Garcia, Ricardo Echuari and Pedro Gonzales each tied for the lead in scoring with one run batted in each.
When Sanford (12-6) and Center (4-18) meet on Friday the advantage will go to No. 1 seeded Sanford. The series lead goes to Sanford 2-0. The first game in their double header earlier in the season was a 5-3 nail biter, and the second was a 25-3 no contest.
Both teams entered their double header earlier in the season with at least three days’ rest implying fresh pitching, meaning it might be a good indication as to what’s in store come Saturday morning.
The lead off game may also be source of inspiration for both teams and perhaps even have intrigue beyond. Center got going early in their first meeting earning three runs in the first inning, after that their bats fell silent. Sanford would steadily produce through the remainder eclipsing the lead and winning the game.
Sanford can look to this game as the best Center has to offer. Center can look to this game as proof that though Sanford was better that day, it wasn’t by much. Sanford will look to maintain their dominance having swept the district and entering the tournament with a perfect league record. Center will be looking to achieve a huge upset.
3. South Park vs. 2. Sargent
South Park put down Del Norte with a walk off Sportsmanship victory achieving a 15 run advantage at the bottom of the fourth inning. Del Norte’s two runs in the bottom of the fourth were not enough to extend the Tigers season to fifth inning.
The Burros (9-4) were the first team to hand the defending District Champs a league loss just a month ago. Sargent (9-8) took the first game in the doubleheader by a score of 13-6. The Farmers would stay on pace with South Park through game two but fell silent in the sixth and seventh innings dropping a 7-5 decision.
Once again both teams entered their series this year with enough rest for a fresh bullpen in game one which slides the advantage to Sargent who won by a resounding 7 runs in game one.
Things could shake out well for the Farmers if they come away with a win in their first game. If Center is victorious on the other end of the bracket, the Vikings don’t have a sterling track record in game twos of double headers. Once the Vikings expend their pitching in the first games of doubleheaders they are 1-6 allowing an average margin of loss of 15.7 runs in game twos.
And if Sanford is the winner viewers can expect a rematch of last week’s game two that came down to the wire with Sanford winning a 11-10 game.
Beyond the Championship
As if there wasn’t enough pressure placed on Saturday’s tournament. The first seven playoff spots will go to the seven district champions. The other nine participants in the tournament will be decided by RPI.
The highest ranking RPI of the final four teams in the tournament belongs to South Park with .503 placing 22 in the state, well out of playoff contention.
Meaning that if a team from the Southern Peaks advances to regional/state play it will likely be as a district champion.