On Wednesday the New Mexico High School Coaches Association released the All-State softball teams. Six Lea County players were selected overall with four making the first team and two making the second team.
In Class 5A, Hobbs pitcher Genesis Armendariz was selected to the first team. The Lady Eagles finished the season 17-14 overall and 9-3 in district, making the playoffs and reaching the semifinal in the consolation bracket.
The senior finished the season with a .406 batting average with 24 runs and 22 RBI off 28 hits from 69 at-bats. The senior had four doubles, five triples, and three home runs. From the circle, Armendariz pitched 71 innings allowing 49 hits for 30 runs with 17 earned for a 1.68 ERA. She finished the season 8-2 with one save, one no decision, and 12 complete games. She had 81 strikeouts to eight walks in the season.
In district play, the senior had a batting average of .417 with 13 runs and four RBI from 15 hits. She had a double and a triple for the Lady Eagles. As a pitcher in district play, Armendariz went 6-0 with a save and a 0.83 ERA. The Lady Eagle pitched 42 innings allowing only 29 hits for 18 runs with five earned. She had 56 strikeouts to six walks and seven complete games.
Hobbs skipper Dean Crossland reflected on the four years he had Armendariz pitching for his team.
“Genesis (Armendariz) has been an outstanding pitcher for four years,” Crossland said. “She has two first team All-State and one second team. It will be hard to replace her. She has confidence in all eight pitches she throws. As a ninth-grader, I asked her which one was best. She said, ‘Coach, all of them.’”
In Class 4A, Lovington Lady Wildcat’s infielder Addison Marquez and pitcher Kaeleigh Smith-Vega were selected to the second team. The Lady Wildcats finished the season 21-10 overall and 9-3 in district making the playoffs before being eliminated by Silver High School in the third round of the consolation bracket.
Marquez had a .559 batting average with 48 runs and 28 RBI off 55 hits in 99 at-bats. She hit 21 doubles, three triples, and six home runs including a grand slam. As a pitcher Marquez pitched 91.1 innings allowing 115 hits for 88 runs with 51 earned for a 4.92 ERA. She finished with 81 strikeouts to 28 walks in the season.
Smith-Vega had a .408 batting average with 10 runs and 21 RBI off 29 hits in 71 at-bats. She hit seven doubles, three triples, and two home runs. She pitched 100 innings allowing 114 hits for 86 runs with 53 earned for 3.70 ERA. She had 94 strikeouts to 50 walks.
Lovington skipper Steve McCraw was proud for both his players being named to the All-State team.
“We are very proud of both of them, the honor is well-deserved,” McCraw said. “Addy had a great season not only hitting but also pitching. She was our leadoff hitter, and made us go. If she had a good game, we had a good game. Kaeleigh did not have as good a year as she would have liked, as she had to work through some nagging injuries but still gave us great effort every time out. When she was healthy she was very good as evidenced by her performance at the end of the season.”
McCraw called both of his players very hard workers who will continue to get better. Both Marquez and Smith-Vega will return next season for the Lovington Lady Wildcats.
In Class 1A/2A, Eunice Lady Cardinals’ infielder Cheyanne Nichols, outfielder Chastyn Pierce, and catcher Jaqui Ortega all made the first team. The Lady Cards finished the season 24-7 overall, 8-1 in district, making the state championship game before falling to Loving.
Nichols finished with a .436 batting average with 23 runs, 34 hits, and 27 RBI. She had four doubles and a triple in the season.
Pierce had a .352 batting average with 16 runs and 17 RBI off 19 hits in 54 at-bats. She hit four doubles.
Ortega had a .512 batting average with 35 runs and 45 RBI off 43 hits in 84 at-bats. She hit 17 doubles and five home runs.
Eunice skipper Chad Pierson was glad to see his players receive the recognition for a great season.
“It’s great to have three girls make All-State,” Pierson said. “I think we had a few more that should have made it but I’m very proud and happy for the ones that did. If it was up to me, the whole team would have made it.”