High School : : General
Wednesday, May 04, 2011

New Mexico Playoff Preview

Todd Gold         Ben Collman        
Photo: Jackie Bregman

New Mexico State Playoff Brackets

Class 5A

The Favorites

Volcano Vista- Very impressive regular season where the Hawks went 22-3 with their losses coming to the number two, three and four seeds in the bracket. They only question is whether they're a consistent team that beats who they're supposed to or if they truly are the best team in the class.

La Cueva- The defending champs responded well after a slow start to finish 20-4 and earn the #2 seed in the tournament with an eleven game winning streak.

Cleveland- Their win over second seed Volcano Vista April 26th is the highlight of their strong stretch run in which they went 12-1 to close out the regular season.

Players to Watch

Blake Swihart, C, Cleveland-The top ranked catching prospect in the nation can hit for power from both sides of the plate. Really stands out at the high school level and is expected to go high in the draft come June.

Ryan Padilla, OF/LHP, La Cueva- The number two ranked prospect in the state who features a plus arm from the outfield that allows him to be an effective pitcher as well for the defending champs. Has good offensive ability and can run as well, very solid and well rounded ballplayer.

Cullen O'Dwyer, OF, Eldorado- The top junior in 5A has already commited to play at Arizona State, good switch hitter with good bat speed and has already begun to tap into his power potential.


Toughest Roads

Carlsbad- Sandia is a tough first round draw and the sledding will get much tougher if they can get to the second round for a likely matchup with top seeded Volcano Vista. The Cavemen are a solid team that could pull an upset but they have a tough draw.

Hobbs- The fifth seed provides an absolutely brutal route with potential second round matchup with Cleveland, and if they can somehow get past them they would then run into top seed Volcano Vista in the semis.


Eldorado- They've got a tough draw as a ten seed but La Cueva won't be happy to see them in the second round if Mayfield can't take two out of three in the first round series. They may be a year away but they've got the talent to surprise people.

Rio Grande- Tough to call a three seed a sleeper but they do get overlooked a bit with all of the other loaded teams in the bracket. If opponents overlook them their season will be over very quickly.

Valley- Better than their record indicates, they've faced all of the heavy favorites and held their own. If they can get to the second round they may face Rio Grande who they played tough and took one of three from and is a matchup that they have a chance in.

PG’s Pick

While top seed Volcano Vista is a tempting pick, their road is a bit tougher than the one in front of 2-seed La Cueva. The defending champs have the benefit of playing the first round series at home and have plenty of playoff experience, the Bears have too much working in their favor to pick against them.

Class 4A

The Favorites

Albuquerque Academy-  Edged out Piedra Vista for most runs scored with a prolific offense led by the state's new single season home run king Alex Bregman. The 27-2-1 regular season record is impressive on its own, even moreso when you take into account the aggressive out of conference schedule that included matchups with 5A powerhouses La Cueva and Volcano Vista.

Piedra Vista- The defending champs battled with cross-town rival Farmington for District 1 supremacy and managed to take the season series two games to one. They could meet up for a fourth time in the semi-finals and it would be a fun game to watch.

Farmington- The Scorpions went 20-5 in the regular season playing a good schedule that featured several strong 5A teams. The experience will help and the opportunity to get another shot at rival Piedra Vista will add extra motivation for a hungry team.

Players to Watch

Alex Bregman, SS/RHP, Albuquerque Academy- A focus between his sophomore and junior seasons has resulted in a massive power surge for Bregman who was already considered to be one of the top prospects in the state. Breaking the single-season home run record (18) certainly didn't hurt his stock.

Shilo McCall, OF/RHP, Piedra Vista- Strong athletic OF who provides power to the Panther lineup and can run a little too. Named to the All-State First Team as a junior this season.

Chris Nunez, OF, Goddard-The future Lobo has put up some very impressive numbers this season, posting a .462/.574/.910 line.

Toughest Roads

Goddard- This is a team that has the ability to make a lot of noise but a potential second round matchup with Farmington possibly followed by drawing Piedra Vista in the semis is going to be really tough. They could make a deep run and if they do it will be very impressive.

Atrisco Heritage-
The Jaguars have a tough draw in the tourney, which is nothing new to them after running through a loaded regular season schedule. They beat Belen in their first meeting so there is reason to believe they could win their first round series, but a potential matchup with Piedra Vista lurks in the second round. 


Goddard- A couple of losses to Artesia cost them the fifth seed which made their road significantly more difficult. Nonetheless they are a talented team and if anyone is going to make a surprise appearance in the championship out of the bottom side of the bracket it will likely be the Rockets.

Santa Teresa- If they can pull the upset of favorite Albuquerque Academy in the second round they could go real deep. It won't be easy by any stretch but they are a strong team who finished strong and cannot be overlooked.

PG’s Pick

Albuquerque Academy looks to be a cut above the rest. While Piedra Vista and Farmington should both prove to be a tough matchup in the championship, the team with the best shot has to be the Chargers.

Class 3A

The Favorites

Sandia Prep-  The defending champs took some lumps against powerhouses from Class 4A and 5A and very good out of state competition but the experience should pay off in the playoffs. The Sundevils went 12-0 in league play, often winning big.

Silver- If your looking for a team that is peaking at the right time then look no further than Silver. With a ten game winning steak at the #2 seed things are looking pretty good for the Colts as the playoffs get underway.

Hope Christian- They may have gone 0-2 against top seeded Sandia Prep but they were both one-run games on the road that interrupted what was otherwise an eleven game winning streak to close out the regular season.

Player to Watch

Michael Eaton, SS/RHP, Sandia Prep- Posted gaudy numbers thanks to a combination of ability and weak competition and should continue to do so in the playoffs. San Francisco commit with a good D1 2B skillset who is a big reason the Sundevils are a favorite to repeat.

Toughest Road

Robertson- Their first round matchup with Socorro will be tough and if they survive that their road is likely to feature Sandia Prep and either Cobre or a Raton team that has had their number this year. They're a good team that finds themself in a tough spot.


Raton- Won their last nine of the regular season and mostly by large margins. The competition in District 2 isn't exactly the AL East but Cobre is their biggest obstacle to the semi-finals.

Cobre- They played second seed Silver tough in two of their three matchups and fared well against other teams in this bracket. They will likely matchup with Raton in the second round for a trip to the semis.

PG’s Pick

Sandia Prep took home the title this year and with what they accomplished in the regular season there is no reason to believe they can't do it again. They'll have their work cut out for them with a couple tough games lurking but they're as well equipped for a title run as anyone in 3A.

Class 2A

The Favorites

Eunice- Saw their seven game winning streak snaped when they dropped both ends of a doubleheader against their second round opponent Loving. Bounced back with a 10-0 first round win to earn a shot at redemption.

Estancia- Rode a 10-game winning streak into their first round matchup against Jamez Valley where they piled up 32 runs to move on to face New Mexico Military Institute, who they put up 30 against last time they played.

Toughest Roads

Eunice- There has to be some concern for the top seed in the tournament to be facing a team that beat them twice in the same day recently.

They surprised fourth seed East Mountain with a 10-1 opening round victory but they run into fifth seed Tularosa who they are 0-3 against this season. If they win that they'll face the winner of the 1-8 matchup which will also be a tough draw.


Loving-  Ended their season on a high note, sweeping eventual #1 seed Eunice in a doubleheader to earn an eight seed. They'll have to make it three straight against the Cardinals if they want to get to the third round.

PG’s Pick

The road to the championship for Estancia is pretty favorable and they feature an offense that makes them incredibly difficult to keep pace with. They may not have the best pitching in the bracket but they should be able to outslug anybody.

Class 1A

The Favorite

Capitan-  The Tigers haven't just been winning, they've been winning big. Since their last loss on March 28 Capitan has gone 15-0 with only two games decided by single digits (12-6 win over Gateway Christian and a 10-1 over Lake Arthur). After a 14-0 opening round win things are looking good for the Tigers who are now two wins away from taking home the title.

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