Winning its final three district games in grand fashion, the Estancia High School baseball team clinched the District 2-3A crown last week and advanced to the Class 3A state tournament.
“Now we’ve got to beat everybody,” Estancia’s head coach Mark Siedschlag said. “Because when it comes down to it, we’re going for a championship and anything short of that is the same—if you lose in the first round or the second round it doesn’t make a difference.”
The Bears (16-4, 5-1) secured the fourth seed and will host No. 13 Navajo Prep in the first round of the tournament today.
“We wanted to get a home game,” Siedschlag said. “You want a nice seeding because it just makes it a little easier at the start.”
Estancia swept visiting district foe Monte del Sol 19-0 and 9-2 in last Saturday’s doubleheader.
The twin-bill sweep came two days after the Bears cruised to an 11-1 mercy-rule shortened victory over their visiting district rival Pecos Panthers. “We wouldn’t have won district if we hadn’t won today,” Siedschlag said after beating the Panthers. “I’m very pleased with the way we played.”
Freshman pitcher Drayton Oberg went the distance for the Bears giving up no earned runs on two hits. He fanned seven Panthers batters and walked a pair.
“He’s rounding out to be one of our aces,” Siedschlag said about Oberg. “He had good control.”
“This was one of my best games,” said Oberg, who also went 3-for-4 at the plate with a triple and 3 RBIs. “I felt very confident, I was pumped, just having fun.”
Pecos’ lone run was unearned, the result of an Estancia error in the top of the fourth inning.
The Bears scored their first run in the bottom of the second inning and broke the game open with 4 runs in the third and 4 more in the fourth.
Both of Estancia’s 4-run surges began with a base hit by Adam Lujan. He went 2-for-3 with a walk and scored 3 runs.
“Adam seems to be our catalyst,” Siedschlag said. “We go as Adam goes—when he does well, everyone else follows his lead.
Following Lujan’s lead-off hit in the third, Oberg drove him in with an RBI single and Matthew Urban reached base on a walk. Gabe Garcia then crushed a fly ball deep to left field that ricocheted off the fence, bringing in Oberg and Urban.
“I thought it was a home run, and I was like, ‘All right, that’s gone,’” Garcia said of his 2-RBI double. “Then it hit the fence and I was like, ‘Uh-oh!’ and I had to stop jogging and start running.”
In the fourth inning, Oberg once again drove in Lujan.
Then Joseph Newsome—who had struck out in his previous at-bats—capped the rally with a 2-RBI double to left field.
“I needed to recover from those two strikeouts,” Newsome said. “And my cousin [Lawrence Chavez—a member of Estancia’s 2011 state champion team] always says don’t look for a strike, look for a pitch to drive, and that’s what I did on that one.”
With runners at second and third with no outs in the top of the fifth, Urban stepped up to the plate.
Siedschlag called out, “Let’s win it right here!”
Urban responded to his coach’s command with a walk-off RBI base hit to right field to drive in Lujan and put the Bears up by 10, ending the game on the 10-run mercy rule.
Ger has been writing and shooting photos of high school sports for The Independent for 15 years. His dedication to youth athletics goes beyond sports reporting. He is past president of East Mountain Little League and works as a baseball umpire. He lives in Edgewood with his family.