FARMINGTON — After needing 10 innings to defeat Farmington and defend their district title, Piedra Vista will open its state title defense as the No. 1 seed in the 4A baseball bracket.
“It feels great to be able to take the No. 1 seed in 4A,” said PV's Matt Martin.
Panthers' head coach Mike McGaha was glad to get the top seed but was confused how Farmington was awarded the No. 3 seed.
“I definitely felt like we had a case for the No. 1 seed,” said PV head coach Mike McGaha. “But if PV is going to be ranked No. 1, then I don't know how you don't seed Farmington No. 2.”
The Panthers will face No. 16 Bernalillo in the first round.
PV could see district rival Aztec in the quarterfinals after the Tigers were given the No. 9 seed.
“I have mixed emotions about playing them, because it's hard to beat a good team three times,” McGaha said on the chance to see the Tigers again. “But for whatever reason, they haven't played well against us.”
A potential matchup with No. 4 Santa Teresa or No. 5 Los Lunas could await PV in the semifinals. The Panthers defeated Los Lunas 4-0 in a game earlier in the season.
Farmington High was placed on the other half of the bracket as the No. 3 seed, setting up the potential for another matchup with the Panthers, this time for the state title.
“That's one good thing about the way the bracket turned out,” said FHS head coach Sean Trotter.
McGaha said the thought of another game against the Scorps was exhausting to even think about.
“It great for the community and it's the best rivalry in the state,” McGaha said. “If I don't win the state title, then I think all of us want Farmington and coach Trotter to win.”
The Scorpions know they have a lot of work to do if they want to get to the title game and won't get caught looking ahead.
“It was nice seeing us and PV on opposite sides of the bracket this year with the possibility of a rematch on May 18,” said FHS pitcher Austin Davis. “But we can't overlook any of the matchups before that. We need to take care of business one game at at time.”
FHS will have a tough time getting to the title game with No. 2 Goddard, No. 6 Albuquerque Academy and No. 7 St. Pius X all on their half of the bracket.
“It seems like it's a roll of the dice every year,” Trotter said of the seedings. “You look at our side, and it's going to be a pretty solid task to get through that gauntlet.”
The Scorps will face No. 14 Centennial in the first round.
“We sent guys down to watch them on Saturday,” Trotter said of Centennial. “They're young — no seniors. “Coach (Rusty) Evans worked with us here at Farmington and with coach McGaha at PV and he'll have them ready. It will be a good challenge for us.”
Aztec was hoping to receive a first round home game, but was seed No. 9 and will travel to No. 8 Los Alamos in the opening round.
“I kind of thought we'd done enough, but losing lopsided to PV didn't help,” said Tigers' assistant coach Brett Alexander.
Aztec has yet to face the Hilltoppers, who lost two games early in the season to PV.
“We'll have to dig up some stuff, so I'll call up McGaha and see if he has anything,” Alexander said. The Tigers will have to stay focused to get past Los Alamos and set up another matchup with PV. “These kids know they have to take care of the business in front of them,” Alexander said. “Then, hopefully, we'll get another chance at PV.”
In the 3A bracket, Bloomfield missed out on the chance to host a first round game after being seeded No. 9 against No. 8 Portales.
“We were the district champs and played a tough schedule, and it's one of those things where I guess they didn't respect our district,” said Bloomfield head coach Frank DeHoyos. “I think we're a heck of a lot better team now then we were at the start of the season.”
Shiprock was given the No. 13 seed and drew No. 4 Robertson in the first round.
In the 2A bracket, Navajo Prep made the tournament as a No. 16 seed and will play No. 1 East Mountain in the first round.
“We're excited. It's been awhile since Prep's made the tournament,” said Eagles' head coach Rod Denetso. “We're just trying to change the program. It will be a good experience, and it be great to see other talent. We'll have our hands full, but in baseball, anything can happen.”
In the first round, the higher seeds will host a best-of-three series in 3A and 4A. The 2A bracket will play single elimination.
The first round games begin on Friday. Joshua Perry can be reached at email@example.com; 505-564-4577. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.