Wolverines capture 1A baseball title

Staff and wire reports

ALBUQUERQUE — Last year’s 31-1 debacle against Santa Fe Indian School in Texico’s first trip to the baseball postseason is now only a distant and fading memory.

This week, it was the Wolverines doing most of the heavy hitting.

Junior Zane Anderson went 4-for-4, senior Logan Brown was 3-for-5 and drove in five runs as Texico rolled to a 21-10 rout of Roswell Gateway Christian in the Class 1A state championship game Wednesday at Isotopes Park.

Senior Joel Maldonado was the winning pitcher, and also belted a two-run homer.

Texico (18-2), which started its baseball program in 2002, reached the Class 1A-2A playoffs for the first time last year, only to be sent packing in a stunning and humbling loss to SFIS.

This year’s squad, though, was on the other end of the spectrum in postseason. Texico won its three games at state by double-figure margins.

“That’s the way it’s been for us all tournament,” Wolverines coach Richard Luscombe said. “We’ve really been hitting the ball hard.

“I thought we had a chance to go far because we didn’t lose anybody (from last season).”

Luscombe, though, admitted he was a little nervous when Texico fielding errors helped the Warriors (19-5) pull even 6-6 with four runs in the bottom of the second.

But the tie didn’t last long as Texico responded with nine runs in the third.

A double by Aaron Vaughan and singles by Josh Pena and Jesse Walthers put the Wolverines ahead for good. After a walk to load the bases, Braden Vaughan hit a two-run single.

Another walk loaded the bases for Brown, who rammed a three-run double into the left field corner to chase Gateway starter Jared Wilson.

Maldonado greeted reliever Ben Chavez with his homer off the back wall beyond the left field fence on a 1-2 pitch — the third consecutive game in which he has homered.

“It was a monster shot,” Luscombe said.

Texico finished with 17 hits, including 10 for extra bases. Walthers, Aaron Vaughan and Pena all went 2-for-4, with Walthers driving in three runs.

The senior-less Warriors collected 11 hits off Maldonado, who walked six and struck out one.

“They’re a good hitting team,” Luscombe said. “They did a good job of putting the bat on the ball. They’re going to be a heck of a team in the future.”

By run-ruling its opponents, Texico was able to get consecutive five-inning, complete-game pitching performances at state from Braden Vaughan, sophomore Theo Marez and Maldonado.

“It’s kind of nice when you have three pitchers and they all get to go (the distance in) five-inning games,” Luscombe said.

Class 1A state championship
Texico 21, Gateway Christian 10
Texico 429 15 —21 17 6
Gateway Christian 241 12 —10 11 3
Joel Maldonado and Braden Vaughan; Jared Wilson, Ben Chavez (3) and Taylor Coll. W — Maldonado (6-0). L — Wilson. 2B — Texico: Logan Brown 2, Maldonado, Aaron Vaughan 2, Jesse Walthers, Zack Morgan, Zane Anderson. Gateway Christian: Chavez. 3B — Texico: Anderson. HR — Texico: Maldonado. Records — Texico 18-2, Gateway Christian 19-5.