|Hobbs' Victor Porras pitches in relief Thursday.|
In both instances, it was troubles Hobbs and Eunice had battled all season that came back to bite them in the rear.
The 12th-seeded Eagles, winners of nine consecutive games heading into Thursday, walked 11 batters, committed three errors and managed just two hits during a 5-1 loss to No. 4 Volcano Vista in the Class 5A state quarterfinals at La Cueva High School in Albuquerque.
The game was tied for much of the contest until a run in the sixth and three in the seventh by Volcano Vista gave the Hawks the win.
Walks, untimely hitting and errors had cost the Eagles a lot of close games this season and Thursday's defeat was no different as four of the runs were unearned, the Eagles were 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position and the only run Hobbs got was off a Caleb Young home run.
Still, it was a great run made by the Eagles to cap the season considering at one point they were 8-11 (finished 17-12) and it was questionable if Hobbs was even going to make the playoffs. Nine wins, a tie for the district title and a first-round sweep of No. 5 Mayfield later, Hobbs found itself in the state quarterfinals. It just didn't play like the team that won nine games in a row Thursday.
As for top-seeded Eunice, I wasn't at the game (it was at the same time as Hobbs' game) but it sounded like the inconsistent hitting the Cardinals were troubled with in spurts throughout the season showed up during an 8-5 loss to No. 4 and eventual state champion East Mountain in the Class 2A state semifinals at Cleveland High in Rio Rancho.
Eunice fell behind quick 5-0 after the first half inning but got their bats going in the third, scoring five runs on six hits to tie the game 5-5.
But the Cardinals' bats fell silent after that as East Mountain scored a run in the fifth and two more in the seventh to win 8-5.
All season Eunice had stretches of inconsistency at the plate – and not just game to game, sometimes even within a game.
There is no doubt the absence of Junior Caraza and Kyle Ragsdal (both out due to injuries) hurt the Cardinals, if for nothing more than their veteran presence.
On the bright side, some young talent got to show what they had and will take that experience into next season.
But I know there's no sugar coating the disappointment of the top-seeded team in the state not reaching its goal of a state title. It's always tough having the state-title-or-bust mindset. It's just not easy winning a state title, particularly in baseball where there are so many variables and any given day anybody can beat anybody.