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A walk-off and a no-hitter: An exciting opening day to the metro baseball tournament

Mar. 19—It was an unusually exciting first round of the Albuquerque Metro Baseball Championships.

Not only was there a no-hitter, but there were three victories achieved in the final at-bat — by Cleveland, Eldorado and Cibola.

The top seven seeds, and No. 9 St. Pius, won first-round games Tuesday.

Wednesday's quarterfinals, all at 3:30 p.m., are as follows: St. Pius at La Cueva, Cleveland at Volcano Vista, Eldorado at Rio Rancho and Cibola at Sandia.

St. Pius (8-2) got out fast at No. 8 Rio Grande, scoring six runs in the first two innings, and eventually held off the Ravens 7-5.

"It's still just a steady climb. We preach that all the time, trying to climb that hill until we get to May," St. Pius coach Jim Stebbins said.

Ruben Jepson (2-0) went the first six innings for the Sartans. Jacob Madrid pitched the seventh and recorded a hard-earned save. Rio Grande had runners at second and third with one out in the seventh before Madrid recorded the final two outs with a pop-up and ground ball.

In the first, sophomore Kaiden Swanson had a two-RBI single with two outs, part of a three-run first for St. Pius. Ben Martinez added an RBI single in the second, and the Sartans also scored a run on a suicide squeeze.

"I couldn't ask for more out of the team," Stebbins said.

Metro No. 1 seed La Cueva (7-1) scored 13 runs in its first at-bat Tuesday and blanked No. 16 Albuquerque High 16-0.

At Cleveland, Jaden Davis' two-out, two-RBI triple to right center in the bottom of the sixth (he drove in four for the game) lifted the fifth-seeded Storm (9-1) — coming off a victory at the Las Cruces tournament last weekend — to a 10-9 victory over No. 12 Hope Christian. The Storm led 5-0 early, but the Huskies came back to lead 9-6 in the sixth. Cleveland put up four runs in the sixth, and Anthony Del Angel pitched the seventh to record the save for the Storm.

At Eldorado, Jace Sanchez-Reynolds delivered a two-run, two-out single to left field in the bottom of the seventh, as the seventh-seeded Eagles (5-1), who were once down four runs to No. 10 Los Lunas, rallied for a 5-4 victory.

At Cibola, Seth Galfano's sacrifice fly to shallow left field scored the winning run as the sixth-seeded Cougars walked off No. 11 Albuquerque Academy 7-6 with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. The Chargers had scored four runs in the top half, including a game-tying, three-run home run, for a 6-5 lead. Levon Van Ert slid around a good throw home for the game-winning run for Cibola.

At Volcano Vista, sophomore left-hander Aaron Sanchez (3-0) pitched a five-inning no-hitter and struck out 10 batters for the Hawks, who routed Valley 13-0 in 4 1/2 innings. Alijah Gonzales, Noah Massey and Diego Diaz each had two hits for Volcano Vista (10-1).

At Sandia (8-1), the second-seeded Matadors scored five times in the first inning and shut out No. 15 Atrisco Heritage 10-0 in 5 1/2 innings. Junior outfielder Anthony Condon homered twice in the victory for Sandia. He hit a three-run homer in the first and added a two-run shot in the fifth.

At Rio Rancho, the third-seeded Rams (9-2), in their first home game of the season, sent 15 batters to the plate in the third inning, scoring 11 times — 10 after two were out — and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 14-1 rout of No. 14 Manzano. Sean Vigil had a two-run double and three-RBI triple in the same inning for Rio Rancho, and Ryan Lewis hit a grand slam.

Gary Herron from the Rio Rancho Observer contributed to this story.