Aztec ends drought with state title win

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Shiprock Chieftain Adrian Gibson leaps across the finish line to claim the Class 4A boys 110-meters hurdle state title with a time of 15.50 at the University of New Mexico stadium in Albuquerque May 13.

ALBUQUERQUE

The Aztec Lady Tigers didn’t forget how their softball season ended last year.

It was the same story written in four of the previous five seasons so when they took the field at University of New Mexico Field last Saturday they were on a mission.

The top-seeded Tigers came up with some timely hits more than once as they upended the Artesia Lady Bulldogs 7-2 in the New Mexico Class 5A state softball championship game.

“This is the best feeling in the world,” Aztec senior catcher Kylie Brown said. “We put in so much hard work and effort and it has finally paid off.”
Aztec senior ace pitcher Paige Adair said the disappointments of the previous years made them more hungry.

“This is awesome,” Adair said. “All those second place finishers makes this even sweeter. We were on a mission all season long and we finished it.”

To reach the finals, Aztec played Artesia the previous day in a tight 3-2 contest but in their rematch on Saturday the Tigers meant business.

The Tigers scattered 10 hits, including six on starting ace Kali Candall. In their previous game, Candall got herself into a jam a couple of times but she limited the damage by stranding six runners.

In the championship game, it was the bottom half of the lineup that tormented Artesia as they finished with seven hits with third baseman Jocelyn Ulrich and left fielder Autumn Peterson being credited with two hits each.

“They were the ones that set the tone,” Aztec coach Roy Johnson said.

Johnson said they made the necessary adjustments on how to hit Candall.

“My goodness that girl is phenomenal,” said Johnson of the Artesia junior. “But I have a good team and once they made the adjustments the game got easier for them.”

Aztec first baseman Sarrah Jones concurred with her coach and after seeing Candall once they knew what to do.

“She’s a good pitcher but we got on top of her right away,” she said. “She was throwing a little slower today. She seemed like she was tired and that was the perfect hitting speed for us.”


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Categories: Baseball

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at
qjodie@navajotimes.com