The bracket for the Majors baseball Little League double-elimination state tournament is starting to take shape.
Santa Fe Little League’s All-Stars punched their ticket to the show with a 16-2 win over Los Alamos on Saturday, clinching the District 1 title for the second straight year.
It sends Santa Fe into Friday’s opening round against the champion of District 3, whose tournament has been hosted by Clovis Western. The nine-team state tournament begins Friday in Bernalillo. The eight-day event will be hosted by Coronado Little League, a 45-minute drive from Santa Fe.
Santa Fe’s first game will be at 2 p.m. on Field 2, with the winner moving on to play again the following day. The loser falls into the unenviable spot of the pigtail game of the consolation bracket. Playing in that spot requires seven wins in as many days just to win the state title.
This is the final year with Santa Fe representing District 1. The entire district is breaking in half in 2023, with Santa Fe joining Albuquerque-based District 5 and the other leagues from District 1 joining District 4 with clubs from Las Vegas, Taos, Raton, Mora, Springer and Santa Rosa.
On the softball side, Santa Fe continues to roll through the first couple of rounds in the 8-10, Juniors and Seniors. The 8-10 team beat Silver City in walk-off style, 6-5, to advance to the winner’s bracket final. Sophia Grimley drove in the winning run that scored Jaylah Ortiz in the bottom of the seventh inning. Santa Fe will take on Albuquerque’s Paradise Hills squad at 8 p.m. Monday in Carlsbad.
The Juniors team beat Carlsbad by a 16-1 count Saturday night to also reach the winner’s bracket final, where it beat Albuquerque’s West Mesa 8-2 to reach the state championship game set for Tuesday.
Santa Fe bounced back from a loss in the Seniors division to beat Isleta Little League, 10-1, to remain alive in the tournament.
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The New Mexico-West Texas Women’s Amateur golf tournament wrapped up Sunday at the Twin Warriors Golf Club. KayLinda Crawford of Los Alamos finished fourth, while Santa Fe’s Carisa Padilla was sixth.
Crawford was the co-leader after Friday’s opening round but stumbled to a 12-over 84 on Sunday, finishing at 17-over (233) for the 72-hole tournament. Padilla was consistent, carding an opening-round 77 followed by a pair of 79s over the weekend to finish at plus-19 (235).
Rylee Salome of Los Lunas won the event by three strokes, finishing at 2-over (218). Santa Fe’s Karen Tian was seventh at 24-over while Jessica Osden of Los Alamos was tied for eighth at plus-28.
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Playoffs, here they come. Probably.
The Pecos League’s website gave us a sneak peak at the playoff layout, which has the top four teams from each conference making it into a pair of four-team brackets set to begin Aug. 1. While there’s still three weeks left in the regular season, the site already has the Santa Fe Fuego headed to the postseason.
As the fourth-place team in the Mountain Division, Santa Fe would travel to No. 1 Garden City for a best-of-three series opposite the other Mountain series pitting Alpine and Trinidad. The Mountain winner would eventually lock horns with the Pacific champion in a finals series no earlier than the second week of August.
As of Sunday’s All-Star Game, the Fuego (15-13) were clinging to fourth place, 21/2 games ahead of Roswell and two games behind third-place Trinidad. The Fuego only have two regular season games remaining against Trinidad, meaning they’ll likely need some help to jump to third. They’ve also go three games left with Roswell.
The potential matchup with Garden City isn’t promising. Santa Fe is 1-4 against the Wind, with each of the final five games of the regular city coming against them. Their last meeting was Friday at Fort Marcy, a 19-0 Garden City victory.
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Sunday’s Mountain Division Pecos League All-Star Game went to the North in a 9-5 win in seven innings. Santa Fe’s Manny Cachora singled in what proved to be the game-winning run, an RBI that plated the game’s first run in the bottom of the first.
Cachola and fellow Fuego position players Parker DePasquale, Tyler Carpenter, Jared Gay, Phil Buckingham and Jesus Chavez were all part of the team, as was pitcher Matt Chavez. Neither Chavez nor Sanchez got into the game.
DePasquale went 2-for-2 with two runs scored while Gay and Cachora each had a hit.
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The last major leaguer to hit .400 was Ted Williams in 1941.
While we’ll never confuse the Pecos League with the majors, it’s still quite an accomplishment to see what Manny Cachora is doing at the dish for the Santa Fe Fuego this season. The team’s third baseman, he hit the All-Star break with a league-leading .487 batting average.
He has 137 plate appearances and struck out just 13 times. His on-base percentage is .547 with eight home runs and 33 RBI. He and a number of other Fuego position players find themselves in the top-10 of the league’s various offensive categories.
The issue — and stop us if you’ve heard this before — is pitching. As of Sunday’s All-Star Game, Santa Fe ranked dead last in the Pecos League with a team ERA of 11.93. Opponents are hitting a robust .372 against Fuego pitching, launching 56 home runs — at least 11 more than any other team.
While this has nothing to do with the Fuego, it’s still the winner for stat of the day: 14. That’s how many runs Roswell scored in the 10th inning of a 25-11 win against Austin on Saturday night. Trailing 11-8 in the ninth, the Invaders plated three to force extra innings and then had relief pitcher Reece Gilmore give up five hits, seven walks and 11 runs (all earned) to start the 10th. Yikes.
Austin pitchers combined to walk 20 batters and give up 20 hits. The game took more than five hours to play.
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What Major League Baseball team’s fans whines the most over balls and strikes?
According to a data sweep by the gaming website BetOnline.ag, it’s fans of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Kind of surprising, right? Like Raiders fans in football or Celtics fans in hoops, the kneejerk reaction in baseball is to point at fans of the Yankees or Red Sox. Instead, BetOnline.ag monitored data trends aimed at Twitter and found that Redbirds fans are particularly unhappy with the umps’ strike zone.
A website dedicated to tracking umpire performance is umpscorecards.com. You’ll find that 93.5 percent of balls and strikes are deemed to be accurate, just a tick below last year’s rate. Pretty good, right?
Not enough for St. Louis fans, though. BetOnline.ag claims that 6.89 percent of Cardinals tweets were deemed negative towards umpires.
Rounding out the top five are fans of the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners.
The team with the least issues? The Cleveland Guardians at 0.71 percent. Them, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers were the only teams with gripe ratios under 1 percent. The Yankees? Twelfth. The BoSox? Twenty-fourth.
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Santa Fe Indian School is holding a baseball and softball tournament July 29-31 for 18-and-under teams. Cost is $200 per team with a roster limit of 15 players. Three games are guaranteed and there will be a double-elimination tournament.
The tournament is a fundraiser SFIS athletics. For more information, call Lady Braves head softball coach Oliver Torres at 505-699-7749.