Texico faces Santa Rosa in 2A state opener

CNJ staff

TEXICO — The Texico Wolverines have enjoyed plenty of recent success in the Class 1A state baseball tournament, winning the title in 2005 and finishing second to Gateway Christian last year.

Now they get to try their hand at Class 2A.

The Wolverines (10-7) were given the No. 6 seed and face third-seeded Santa Rosa (18-5) in a noon quarterfinal game today at Eldorado High School in Albuquerque.

The winner advances to a 7 p.m. semifinal on Thursday at Los Lunas High School against either Lordsburg or Tucumcari, Texico’s District 3-2A rival. The championship game is set for noon on Friday at Isotopes Park.

In today’s other quarterfinal tilts, scheduled for Lobo Field on the campus of the University of New Mexico, top-seeded Estancia faces Penasco and Monte del Sol takes on Eunice.

Texico played Santa Rosa in a season-opening tournament at Dexter in mid-March, with the Lions winning 5-4 in a game shortened to five innings by a time limit.

Wolverines coach Richard Luscombe noted both teams were coming off state basketball tournament appearances the previous week.
“They’ve gotten a lot better since then, and we have too,” Luscombe said. “It ought to be a good game.”

Although they were accorded a higher seed, the Lions had to play their way into the tournament by winning a three-team regional last weekend at Santa Rosa. They routed Tularosa 17-1 in the championship game.

Texico, which has just three seniors on its roster, has won 10 of its last 12 games after an 0-5 start. Luscombe is hoping the Wolverines can draw from their recent 1A state tournament experience.

“I like our chances going in,” he said. “Estancia is kind of the favorite, but they’ve been beaten too.

“If we can come in and have three good games with good pitching, I like our chances.”

Luscombe said junior Casey Crist is the probable starting pitcher in the opener, with junior Jesse Walthers and senior Theo Marez the top candidates to start the next two rounds.