With a strong pitching performance from Andrew Lujan and plenty of run support from the offense, the No. 3 Estancia High School baseball team trounced the No. 14 Tierra Encantada Alacranes 21-3 in the first round of the Class 2A state tournament, May 8 at the Bears’ home field.
In only his second start of the season, Lujan set the tone by striking out the side in the first inning.
“It was fun, just playing in a state tournament, I felt good, confident,” Lujan said.
Lujan sent the Alacranes’ batters down in order in the second and third innings and flirted with a no-hitter into the fourth.
“He had good control, he threw strikes,” Estancia head coach Hamilton Doyle said of Lujan, adding, “He peaked right at the right time.”
On offense, the Bears (19-4) wasted no time as Drayton Oberg led off the home half of the first inning with a double, Josh Thomas reached on an error, and Cruz Moreno drove them in with a three-run home run.
“It felt so good,” Moreno said. “It got me pumped up and I’m pretty sure it got the whole team pumped up—it was just awesome.”
Lujan also chipped in on offense during a 10-run outburst in the third inning when he hit a fly ball that got past the Alacranes’ center fielder and rolled all the way to the fence. When the Alacranes’ outfielder finally came up with the ball, Lujan had motored around the bases for an inside-the-park four-bagger.
With his team cruising to a lopsided victory, Doyle went to his bench and got many of his younger players some action.
Freshman Katelyn Garcia, one of only a few girls in the state playing varsity baseball, reached on an infield hit—her second base hit of the season—and scored the Bears’ 13th run when Javier Aragon poked a two-out, two-RBI double to right field.
“It was pretty cool,” Garcia said of getting a hit and scoring a run in her first-ever high school baseball state tournament appearance.
In the fourth inning, the Bears piled on another eight runs, benefitting from five bases on balls—the Alacranes’ pitchers issued a total of eight walks in the game—and two batters who were hit by pitches.
Thomas, who drew a walk during the frame, stole second base, third, and home to extend the Bears’ lead to 17-0.
Jake Zamora drove in Moreno and Preston Cantu with a two-RBI triple and then came home on Lujan’s RBI-single. Lujan then stole second and third before tagging up and scoring the Bears’ final run after Heze Ortiz’ infield popup.
The Alacranes scored three runs in the top of the fifth inning before the game ended on the 10-run mercy rule.
With the victory, the Bears advance to the state quarterfinals to face the No. 6 McCurdy Bobcats (13-4), May 16 at 3 p.m. at St. Pius X High School in Albuquerque.