Lady Cats face Piedra Vista at 3 p.m. on Thursday in first-round action of 24-team bracket
DEMING – Deming High Softball Coach Noel Nuñez is calling the Kristin Griego Invitational Softball Tournament larger and more competitive than the Class 5A State Tournament. “There will be a lot of premier Class 5A and 6A schools attending, and if you make it to the top five – you stand a good chance of getting into the state tournament and competing for a championship,” he told the Headlight in an interview on Wednesday, March 21.
The Lady Cats were scheduled to meet Piedra Vista High School at 3 p.m. in Thursday’s first round of the 24-team, three-day bracket. A first-round win would guarantee a five-game spread over the weekend. A loss would bring a four-game spread.
Deming High Softball Coach Noel Nuñez
Piedra Vista (7-6) is ranked No. 14 in Class 6A and beat St. Anthony’s of Long Beach, CA back on March Saturday, March 17. The Farmington, NM-based high school has traditionally stood atop New Mexico rankings in past years.
Deming (2-5) hammered Clovis 11-1 back on March 10 in the consolation round of the Southern New Mexico Invitational in Las Cruces, NM. The Lady Cats scattered nine hits in the win and appear to have the offense near potential.
Coach Nuñez is set in his varsity roster and batting order. The addition of junior slugger Mireya Trujillo who was recently released with a clean bill of health following a soccer injury should bolster the hitting attack. “I am looking for consistency in the field and in the batter’s box,” Coach Nuñez said. “What I am looking for more than anything is for someone – or a group – to lead this team. I would like us to be more vocal and show leadership, by example.”
Junior Mireya Trujillo is expected to see some action for the Lady Wildcats this weekend at the Kristin Griego Invitational Softball Tournament at Rio Rancho, NM.
(Photo: Headlight File Photo)
Twelve girls make up the Deming varsity roster, but 14 are on the tournament trip. Coach Nuñez has yet to select captains for the varsity.
Hot hitters at this stage in the season include senior Julyssa “Boo” Ortiz and freshman Jennae Jasso. They have provided quality at bats and clutch hitting in crucial spots. “Boo’s been on fire at the plate and Jennae had a great tournament in Las Cruces,” Coach Nuñez said.
Pitching is a key element in tournament play, and the Lady Cats have leaned on Ortiz to work in the pitcher’s circle. The right-hander has worked on pitch location and her strikeout-to-walk ratio. She will be backed up by freshmen Palmira Valentine and sophomores Adryana Jaquez and Evelyn Ramirez.
“This should be a good measuring stick for our program,” Coach Nuñez said of the tournament bracket. “Our goals for the season are to play for a district title, get to the state tournament and finish in the top four. This tournament will mentally prepare us to meet our goals.”
Bill Armendariz can be reached at 575-546-2611 (ext. 2606) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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