No. 3 Farmington High (20-8) defeated No. 14 Centennial 10-0 in five innings on Saturday morning at Ricketts Park. The Scorpions swept the best-of-three series with the Hawks (13-15) to advance to the 4A state quarterfinals.
“I thought we did a good job. We scored runs in three of the four innings we got to hit, and we put crooked numbers up in those. It was good,” said Farmington High head coach Sean Trotter. “We had good pitch selection all day.”
The Scorps scored four runs in both the first and second innings.
A fielder’s choice from Lance Lee scored Matt Huffhines to get the scoring started before an Ethan Spellbring single plated Brandon Padilla.
Frankie Gutierrez then came through with a two-run single to score Austin Davis and Lee.
Catcher Elias Blackwater hit a high pop-fly to lead off the second inning. By the time the ball fell to the right field grass behind first base, Blackwater was rounding second base. He slid safely into third and scored two pitches later on a Huffhines single.
The Scorps had four consecutive hits to begin the second inning, bringing a quick end to the day for Centennial starting pitcher Ricky Munoz.
“It was good to get our offense going,” Davis said. “That is a positive sign for us, especially going into next week when we face Tyler Buffett from Academy. It helps put a lot of confidence in everyone.”
Davis did his part on the mound for Farmington High. He pitched a complete five innings and allowed only two hits. He struck out three and issued only two walks.
It was a strong performance from the senior, who has battled a head cold all week.
“I think I got over it. A lot of rest was the big key to that. I felt good, just had a runny nose,” Davis said. “It is always good to go get a win when you can throw strikes and let the defense work. To get that win and go on to next week is big.”
Farmington High scored its final two runs of the game in the fourth inning, when Brad Betz drove in Davis with a triple. Betz later scored on a wild pitch.
Centennial head coach Rusty Evans said his first-year team simply had a tough time stringing together hits against Davis in Game 2 or Huffhines in Game 1 of the series.
“It is just tough when you don’t get any hits. We had five or six hits in two games. You won’t win a whole lot doing that,” Evans said. “We weren’t an offensive powerhouse all year, but we were opportunistic. We just didn’t chain hits together like we normally do. Coach Trotter, Austin Davis and Matt Huffhines did a great job. They changed speeds and missed our barrels.”
Evans, a Farmington High graduate and former assistant coach to the Scorpions and Piedra Vista Panthers, was happy his young group — without any seniors or a junior varsity program — was able to gain valuable experience against a good team such as the Scorps.
“From where we started to where we finished, it was a good year,” Evans said. “Farmington High is a good club with a lot of grit to them. They are ultra competitive and get the job done.
I expect them to do very well next week.”
Farmington High will face No. 6 seed Albuquerque Academy on Thursday in the 4A quarterfinals at 3 p.m. at Eldorado High School.
The Chargers defeated Miyamura 2-1 and then 6-5 in 10 innings during the first-round series to advance.
The Scorps are expected to face Academy ace pitcher Tyler Buffett, an Oklahoma State University commit.
“We have to get ready to travel and go for the big weekend,” Trotter said.
The Scorps arguably have the toughest road to the state championship. If the Scorps get past Buffett on Thursday, they will face the winner of No. 2 Goddard and No. 7 St. Pius X.
“You gotta beat the best to be the best, especially with Academy and then either Goddard or St. Pius. If you get by them, next thing you know you face the top seed in PV for the title,” Davis said. “It is truly a test. We feel if we come out on top, it will be a really good run.”
It is still unclear who will start on the mound for FHS against Academy. Both Davis and Huffhines are in line to get the start.
“We have kicked around which guy we should go with. Both have been pretty stinking good,” Trotter said. “I am excited about having those decisions to make.”
John Livingston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; 505-564-4648. Follow him on Twitter @jlivi2.