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A dominant metros sweep for La Cueva as baseball, softball teams outscore opponents a combined 87-3 in tournaments

Mar. 23—La Cueva baseball and softball by the numbers this week:

Number of combined complete games by their pitchers: 7

Number of combined runs scored by both teams: 87

Number of combined runs given up by both teams: 3

Number of combined earned runs given up by both teams: 0

Number of combined Albuquerque Metro Championship trophies earned on Saturday: 2

The baseball team, 13-3 in the morning over visiting Sandia in five innings, and the softball team, 10-0 in the afternoon over Volcano Vista in five innings at the Los Altos Complex, romped to metro titles — and Saturday's results mirrored the way earlier rounds went.

One of the La Cueva pitchers on a deep staff, Braiden Reynolds, drove in five runs in the baseball final. They outscored their four opponents 40-3 this week.

"We just gelled together," said Reynolds. "It was a long week, we had to stick together and as a team, swing the bats."

La Cueva (10-1) had a combined shutout on Tuesday in the opening round, then received complete-game shutouts in the quarterfinals on Wednesday by Reynolds against St. Pius, and then Friday by Dylan Blomker against Cleveland.

Junior Everett Burdett's ERA wasn't harmed Saturday. The three runs he gave up, in the top of the first, were unearned. A throwing error scored one run, and that led to a two-run home run by Aiden Griego and a quick 3-0 lead by the Matadors (10-2).

La Cueva scored three runs in the bottom half of the first without the benefit of a hit, but with the benefit of three walks, a hit batter, and a crucial error.

Reynolds' two-RBI double keyed a three-run second inning, and a 6-3 lead for the Bears. They added four more in the fourth, including a sliced, two-run double to left-center by Reid Jacobson.

La Cueva ended it in the fifth, as Reynolds scored two more runs on a single.

"We're rolling right now," Reynolds said.

Burdett's sharp curveball consistently froze Sandia batters. Of his eight strikeouts, six were via a called third strike and almost all of those were breaking balls.

"Hell of a job," an admiring Reynolds said.

Burdett, a junior, is 2-1.

"I mean, our defense is the best thing we have in the state," he said. "They're getting all those balls out there for us."

La Cueva has played seven games in the last 10 days, but the pitching eased the burden.

"Developing a rotation and some arms to be able to make deep run come May is obviously something we're trying to do," La Cueva coach Gerard Pineda said. "I like we're our staff is, they're throwing the ball well."

The softball team outscored its four opponents 47-0 during the metro's four-games-in-four-days format.

"We got all phases working this weekend," La Cueva coach Ron Romero said. "Especially in the circle. We're gonna hang our hat on that. The sticks? We're getting better every week, but we're not where we'd like to be. But I'll tell you what, we're loving where we're at."

Senior Hannah Hunt had the ball Saturday for La Cueva. The staff ace had minor trouble in a couple of innings, but navigated those threats.

The Bears have three arms, including junior Lily Montoya and sophomore Lainey Alcaraz, who they'll turn to in most any situation.

"I'm just so proud of them," said Hunt. "Lainey, for being how young she is, and throwing how well she's throwing. She's doing amazing. And I'm so proud of Lily. She's finally out of her head and she's doing amazing, too."

Alcaraz was a force at the dish in the metro final as well. She drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the third that upped the La Cueva lead to 4-0. The Bears scored two in the first, two in the third and five in the fourth before walking off the Hawks (4-7) in the fifth.

Toni Lucero and Addisen Byers drove in two runs apiece for the second-ranked Bears (9-3).

"You know, it's still kind of early in the season for us, but it's nice to know that this is where we are and we can only go up from here," Byers said.

La Cueva departs metros, with a short break until its toughest New Mexico test of the season, Monday at home in a 3 p.m. doubleheader against No. 3-ranked Alamogordo.

"It's the competition they really thrive on," Romero said.