After beating Tucumcari and Dexter in the earlier rounds of the playoffs, the Estancia Bears baseball team lost 5-0 to now three-time winner Texico in the Class 3A state championship May 12 at Isotopes Park.
It was the Bears’ first trip to the title matchup since 2011.
Mental errors in the first inning and a tough day at the plate got Estancia the runner-up slot. “We made a couple of mistakes and they got the lead,” Bears head coach Hamilton Doyle said. “There was no making it up.”
Estancia starter Zach Abeita calmed down after the first inning and was able to complete the game. But his team couldn’t push anyone past first base until the sixth inning.
Joseph Newsom went 1-for-2 batting while several players were 1 for 3. There were two Estancia runners on base in the seventh when No. 1 Texico turned a double play to end the game.
Conversely, the No. 2 Bears advanced to the championship as they did the entire postseason: using big offensive binges to turn close games into blowouts.
In the May 10 semifinals against the sixth-seeded Dexter Demons, Estancia held a 3-2 lead when Reyes Herrera’s bases-clearing triple fueled a 4-run third inning.
Moises Anaya’s 2-RBI triple capped a 5-run surge in the sixth to seal the 12-4 victory.
“We score in spurts sometimes,” Doyle said. “So far, throughout this tournament it’s been the big inning that has pulled us through.”
Doyle mixed things up with his pitching rotation against the Demons, pulling starter Abeita after throwing just over 30 pitches to save him for the championship.
Drayton Oberg finished the second inning and faced three Dexter batters in the third before being relieved by Newsom, who pitched through the sixth.
“Joe Newsom came up big for us,” Doyle said.
Cruz Moreno closed out the seventh.
In the May 9 quarterfinals against the No. 10 Tucumcari Rattlers, Estancia held a 2-run lead before blowing the game open with 14 runs in the bottom of the fourth to win 20-5.
Gabe Chavez—the first of 17 Estancia batters during the inning—led off with his first-ever home run, a moon shot over the left field fence.
“It felt amazing,” he said. “I saw it and I was like, ‘Wow, that’s going over!’”
Josh Thomas chipped in a pair of RBI doubles, Moreno hit an RBI double and a 2-RBI triple, and Oberg hit a 2-RBI single during the frame.
Freshman Jake Zamora pitched the entire game for the Bears.
“He’s a gamer,” Doyle said of Zamora, adding, “I’ve got him for the next four years.”
The Bears finished with a 25-3 overall record and 8-0 in district.
Leota started working for The Independent in 2006, working her way up through the ranks. An employee buyout in 2010 led to her ownership of the newspaper. Leota has served on the board of the N.M. Press Association, and is currently its First Vice President. She is passionate about health and wellness, especially mental health, and loves making art. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.