The Las Cruces Bulldawgs and Oñate Knights face tough roads to a state baseball championship this weekend in Albuquerque.
We’ll start with the No. 6-seeded Bulldawgs, who’ve been playing excellent baseball of late. With that being said, the competition is about to get significantly more difficult, starting Thursday with their 3:30 p.m. quarterfinals contest against No. 3-seeded Sandia.
The Matadors are a powerhouse program, and one of the state’s finest. If LCHS is fortunate enough to get past that hurdle, they’ll likely face No. 2-ranked La Cueva in Friday’s state semifinals contest. Once again, another fine baseball team from Albuquerque that will provide a very tough test.
And then, once again, if the Bulldawgs can get past the Bears, they’ll likely face a handful of of possible opponents for a state championship: either No. 1 Carlsbad, No. 4 Volcano Vista or No. 5 Rio Rancho. Again, all good baseball teams.
Again, LCHS has put it all together it recent weeks and has played solid in all phases: pitching, defense and hitting. But there’s no denying the competition’s about to take a step up as teams dwindle down in tournament play.
As for Oñate, they’ve been a tough club to figure this year, simply because they’re very inconsistent. The Knights started off well, but seemed to level off in district play. Many figured Oñate would do what the Bulldawgs accomplished against fellow league members — yet it was LCHS that finished with an 11-1 District 3-5A record, and the Knights coming in second place at 8-4.
One thing to remember: It’s single-elimination baseball, which means literally anything can happen, and very little can separate a good day from a bad one for all the state’s competitors.
Some preview stories heading into this week’s state tournament games
• Bulldawgs baseball ready for state’s top teams in Class 5A bracket
• Las Cruces High seniors lead softball team to No. 1 ranking
• Knights baseball hopes to put things together for state tournament run
• A look at other local games unfolding in Thursday’s state tournament action
• Keep up with all state tournament scores and matchups