AP NEWS

St. Michael’s girls golf team qualifies for state

May 6, 2019

They’re baaaack!

The two-time defending state champion St. Michael’s girls golf team has qualified for the upcoming Class 1A-3A State Tournament thanks to a last-second addition to the roster by head coach Robin Martinez.

Some how, some way, she was able to land two new players, an eighth grader and a freshman, to give the Lady Horsemen five entries in time for last weekend’s district tournament in Las Vegas, N.M. The team had been going with just three players through most of the fall and spring seasons; a minimum of four and maximum of five are required to secure a spot in the team competition in any event in the regular- and postseason.

The additional players, Lillian Rodriguez and Jayden Howley, helped the team shoot a cumulative total of 400 to win the 2-1A/3A championship. The district champ earns an automatic bid to the state tournament, scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Hobbs.

Junior Carisa Padilla is the favorite. She carded a 1-over 73 to edge St. Michael’s teammate Miquela Martinez at the district tournament while Alyssa Torres shot an 82 to place fourth.

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Small steps, Capital baseball.

While a 6-18 record might not usually be something to celebrate, the Jaguars continue to show improvement in bits and pieces under head coach Nicholas Salazar. Last year, the program won the most district games (three) since Capital won a district title in 2006 and its first district wins in three years.

This year saw the Jaguars win their most games in 13 years and came close to winning a 5-5A game in its first year in the big-school division in 19 years, losing 6-5 to Santa Fe High in eight innings on April 27. Over the past two years, the program has 11 wins, which equalled the number of wins it had over the past six.

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You have to love the way certain elements of sports brings people together in ways that never appear on a stat sheet.

Take Santa Fe Indian School baseball coach Jude Torres, for example. What he has done in his three years with the Braves is remarkable. The program has won 46 games and enters the Class 3A state tournament as a viable threat to make a deep run after a fourth-place finish in arguably the top district in the classification.

But every time SFIS plays crosstown rival St. Michael’s, it’s a real-life family feud. Torres is the stepfather of Horsemen middle infielder Derek Martinez, a player who burst onto the scene as an eighth grader last year and has helped St. Michael’s stay in contention for the district title until the final week of the regular season.

“It’s kind of a weird thing, you know?” Torres said during a recent interview. “I know him better than I know anyone but I still have to coach against him. It’s kind of funny.”

Then consider the relationship between St. Michael’s head coach Augie Ruiz and Robertson head coach Leroy Gonzalez. The Cardinals clinched the district title Saturday, but not before beating the Horsemen last week in a game in Las Vegas.

Both coaches’ sons, Ace Gonzalez of Robertson and Isaac Ruiz of St. Mike’s, play for the same club team (the Hooligans) out of Rio Rancho. Ruiz is a freshman utility player for the Horsemen while the eighth grader Gonzalez is listed as a utility man for the Cardinals.

That’s just two examples of dozens that dot the prep sports landscape.

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If you never saw Auggie Francis line up a fastball middle-in, it’s your loss.

The senior from Meridian, Idaho, completed his college career Saturday in Alamosa, Colo. He did so in typical Francis fashion, collecting three hits and driving in five as the New Mexico Highlands University baseball team completed a season-ending series sweep at Adams State.

Francis closed it out riding a 10-game hitting streak in which he went 21-for-38 with 17 runs scored and 11 RBI. For the season he batted a ridiculous .434 to rank in the top 10 nationally in NCAA Division II. He was also among the nation’s leaders in runs scored and on-base percentage, finishing well above .500.

He played in 50 games for the Cowboys and was held without a hit in just eight of them. Even more remarkable is he failed to reach base just twice all season.

It’s not entirely likely he’ll have his name called when the Major League draft rolls around next month, but it’s a certainty that at least one team will invite him to camp in some form or fashion.