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Lady Eagles heading to Albuquerque

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Jason Farmer/News-Sun

Lookout Albuquerque, the Hobbs Lady Eagles are on their way. The Hobbs softball team booked its spot in the Class 5A championship round with a 7-3 win over the Volcano Vista Lady Hawks Friday night at Veterans Memorial Complex.

“We took advantage (of the home game) and the kids came out ready to play and to show Hobbs what they have been doing all year long,” Hobbs skipper Dean Crossland said. “They did a real good job. We got out on them, and (starting pitcher) Yaraceli (Medina), she just came in and shut them down for four innings.”

The seventh-seeded Lady Eagles will face No. 2 seed Centennial on Thursday morning at Cleveland High School. First pitch is set for 11 a.m.

Hobbs, which lost most of its pitching to season-ending injuries, started Medina, a freshman, and she didn’t disappoint.

“She was real smart with what she did,” the Lady Eagles’ skipper said. “She changed speeds all day long. I didn’t call a changeup after the second inning, but I bet you she threw 20 on her own. She did a real good job.”

Medina, who was not on varsity to start the season, scattered nine hits, one walk, and one hit batter over seven innings of work. The freshman allowed three runs, only two of which were earned.

“I was nervous. I didn’t think I would be, but I was,” Medina said. “I just kept a smile on my face and played the game that I play.”

Volcano Vista got a questionable run in the top of the first when a two-out batted ball went down the left field line foul, but was ruled fair. That allowed The Lady Hawks to take a 1-0 lead.

“There is always going to be some stuff that you don’t know if it is or isn’t,” Crossland said. “Right now we are in a situation where you don’t want to get the umpires real upset because they are going to have to keep coming out.”

The Lady Eagles didn’t trail for long though.

“We started off really good with hitting and defense and we kept it going,” Hobbs catcher Anaya Rodriguez said. “I am really proud of all the girls. I knew as soon as we hit the field that we were on it. We were going to win. I had a feeling and we all did great. We all had a job and we all did our job.”

Kaiya Boyle led off the bottom of  the first with a single. After a pop out and a strikeout, Karissa Garcia walked, putting runners at first and second. Edyth Chavez then gave Hobbs a 3-1 lead with a blast over the right-center field fence. The home run was the 36th of the season for the Lady Eagles, tying the team record set in 2016.

After Medina worked out of a one out, bases loaded jam in the top of the second, Anaya Rodriguez pushed Hobbs’ lead to 4-1 with a blast over the left-center fence. Rodriguez’s homer, the 37th of the season for Hobbs softball, also set a new team record for the Lady Eagles.

“We broke the record in 27 games,” the Lady Eagles’ skipper said. “When we did it in 2016, it was in 30 games. We have hit the ball pretty good.”

The freshman credited the defense for helping her get out of trouble.

“(The defense) brings my confidence up a lot,” she said. “It helps that we come together and that brings me up.”

The Lady Eagles would score two more runs in the second when Kandi Harrison and Boyle each scored on a two-out single from Karissa Garcia.

Leading 6-1, Volcano Vista battled back in the top of the third, getting a leadoff homer and an unearned run, cutting the Lady Eagles’ lead to 6-3.

While Volcano Vista would have six more base runners, the Lady Hawks never got another runner to third base.

The Lady Eagles scored their final run in the bottom of the third.

With one out, Rodriguez launched her second homer of the game, another solo blast, over the right-center fence. The home run was Rodriguez’s fifth of the year and the Lady Eagles’ 38th of the season.

“The first (homer), I was just thinking I needed a ground ball or a base hit,” Rodriguez said. “The second one, I was like that first hit was great, now just a base hit and next thing you know, I hit it over again.”

Hobbs banged out 10 hits in the game and drew three walks.

Boyle, the leadoff hitter, was 3-for-3 with two runs and a walk. Rodriguez, Garcia, and Kilee Raulston each had two hits in the game.

The Lady Eagles will head to Albuquerque with an 18-9 record.

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