For the second year in a row, Estancia High’s baseball season—and the Bears’ hopes for a state crown—hit the end of the line in the Class 3A semifinals.
After dismantling the No. 3 Dexter Demons in the quarterfinals, the sixth-seeded Bears advanced to the final four last Thursday but lost 3-0 to the No. 7 Capitan Tigers. Both games were played at Rio Rancho’s Cleveland High School field.
“We beat ourselves,” Estancia head coach Mark Siedschlag said following the Capitan loss. “We were rolling, but I think we just let the emotions get the best of us—we got too excited, too wound up.”
Estancia’s Zach Abeita started on the mound and fanned seven Capitan batters through five innings.
But defensive miscues by the Bears led to all three Capitan runs. A pick-off attempt in the third inning sailed wide of its target allowing a Tigers baserunner to advance to third base and eventually score; and a pair of sky-high pop-ups that Estancia’s fielders couldn’t haul in allowed 2 Tigers runs in the fifth.
“We haven’t had an error in eight games and today we had three,” Siedschlag said.
Estancia’s offense also had its share of missed opportunities.
The Bears stranded two runners on base in the first inning, and left the bases loaded in the second.
The Bears also had runners at second and third with just one out in the fourth inning. But Moises Anaya got caught in a rundown between third base and home. Josh Thomas grounded out to end the threat.
Estancia left a runner aboard in both the sixth and seventh innings.
After the game, Siedschlag revealed he won’t be returning next year.
“I’m retiring,” he said. “I was hoping for a storybook ending but it didn’t work out that way.”
The Bears advanced to the semis by dominating Dexter 10-0 in the May 10 quarterfinal round.
“We did what we were supposed to do, we kept the pressure on them,” Siedschlag said after the five-inning, mercy-rule-shortened game.
Cruz Moreno’s RBI triple capped a 2-run first inning.
Abeita’s sacrifice fly in the third inning drove in Joseph Newsom.
The Bears blew the game wide open with 7 runs in the fifth fueled by a two-RBI double by Thomas, and a two-RBI single by Moreno.
Devin Cantu pitched the complete game, striking out four Dexter batters while scattering just three hits.
“Confidence was a big key in this game,” Cantu said.
After the loss to Capitan, Siedschlag noted that he wanted to extend his thanks to his players and the Bears’ fans.
“I wish it could’ve ended better,” he said. “But I appreciate all the support, and I appreciate the players.”
The Bears finished with a 21-5 record.