Volcano Vista High School pitchers Katera Eltsosie and Kelsey Stevens limited Carlsbad High School batters to one run in a 6-1 victory that forced a second game to determine the New Mexico State 5A Softball Champion. The Carlsbad Cavemen came to bat in the top of the first inning in the game played Saturday on the University of New Mexico softball field.
Caveman Courtney Williams led off with her .573 batting average and beat out a grounder to shortstop. Left-handed batter Catherine Romero beat out a bunt to third base. The next hitter sacrificed each runner to the next base. The next Caveman went down swinging but Lisa Ramirez drew a walk to load the bases. Lacy Granger grounded out to the third baseman who stepped on the bag for the third out. Mary Jo Granger was on the mound for Carlsbad in the bottom of the first inning. She started the game with an ERA of 3.08 and 61 strikeouts.
Volcano Vista's Jade Gray doubled to centerfield. Marlena Pinon grounded out to the third baseman but Eltsosie singled to rightfield. With runners on second and third, Taylor Sargent came to bat. Sargent started the game with 45 hits, 11 homeruns and 55 RBIs. But this time she grounded out to the shortstop for the second out. Monique Cotinola went down swinging to end the inning. Lisa Granger led off the top of the second inning for Carlsbad and hit a one-hop ground ball to the third baseman for the first out. The next batter drew a base-on-balls.
Lynzee Aldaz fanned for the second out and Williams was caught looking at a called third strike. Kelsey Stevens led off the bottom of the second inning for the Hawks. She popped out to the pitcher. Hawk catcher Victoria Castro grounded out to the third baseman and Courtney Love grounded out to the second baseman. In the top of the third inning Carlsbad's Catherine Romero beat out an infield grounder and went to second on a bad throw to first base. Kelli Munoz grounded out to the pitcher and Romero stayed on second base. Jillian Navarrette came to bat with 41 RBIs to her credit this season. But she was caught looking at a third strike this time. Thailyza Ramirez made the third out of the inning.
Gray singled to right after Vanessa Castro grounded out leading off in the bottom of the third inning for Volcano Vista. Marleyna Pinon grounded out and Gray moved to second base on the play. Eltsosie hit a ball up the middle that was headed for centerfield. But Carlsbad second baseman Linzy Granger dove, and back-handed the ball to keep a run from scoring. But Taylor Sargent singled to rightfield to drive in the first run of the game. Cotinola also singled to rightfield to drive in two more runs and the Hawks led 3-0.
In the top of the fourth inning Linzy Granger and Lacy Granger both grounded out for the first two outs. Samantha Modrall lined out to the shortstop for the third out. Volcano Vista went down one, two, three in the bottom of the inning. The first Caveman batter drew a walk in the top of the fifth inning. But Williams hit into a fielder's choice and stayed on first base. With Romero batting, Williams stole her 19th base of the season. Romero walked and Munoz was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Navarrette fanned on a 3-2 pitch and Ramirez made the third out.
Gray led off the bottom of the fifth inning with a single to rightfield for Volcano Vista. She started the game with a .474 batting average and eight homeruns. Pinon singled past the glove of the diving Carlsbad shortstop. Then pitcher Eltsosie tripled to rightfield to drive in two more for a 5-0 Hawk lead. Sargent came to bat and singled home another run and the Hawks led 6-0. In the top of the sixth inning Lindsay Granger and Lacy Granger both singled for Carlsbad. Stevens relieved Eltsosie on the mound for Volcano Vista. She got Modrall to swing and miss at strike three. Then Stevens caught Aldaz looking at an outside pitch for a called third strike. Williams grounded out to an infielder but the first baseman couldn't hold onto the throw. Williams went to second base and eventually scored the first and only run of the game for Carlsbad.
The only hit for the Hawks in the top of the sixth inning was a single by Pinon. Carlsbad got a runner on base in the top of the seventh but the Cavemen couldn't score and the game was over. The Hawks came into this tournament with a regular season record of 24-0. They were 9-0 in 5A district play.