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Today, both the Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball and softball teams will learn where they will land in the Class 4A state championship playoffs.
The state playoffs for both sports start this coming weekend at home sites before the venues shift to Albuquerque and Rio Rancho next week.
Los Alamos’ baseball team is already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs after earning this year’s District 2-4A championship. The Hilltoppers went 20-6 on the year, one of only a select few teams in the state to get to 20 wins in 2014.
While the Hilltoppers are a likely candidate for a top-eight seed, which comes with the privilege of hosting a first-round series, there’s a lot of flexibility where they will ultimately end up.
“They’re going to put Piedra Vista, Farmington, Albuquerque Academy and St. Pius ahead of us,” Los Alamos manager Mike Gill said. “We lost to three of those four teams. I imagine us as a five seed, but I don’t know. Goddard has a great record. I’d say anywhere from five to seven.”
Heading into this weekend, the Hilltoppers were rated No. 7 in Class 4A, according to MaxPreps.com, one of the major indicators of where the Hilltoppers might end up in the seeding.
In softball, things were a little more uncertain.
While Los Alamos wasn’t able to procure an automatic bid this season, it put itself in very good position to earn an at-large bid by taking the No. 2 spot in 2-4A, beating out the Santa Fe Demons for that position.
The Hilltoppers beat the Demons twice in three tries during the season, which gave the Hilltoppers the tiebreaker for the runner-up spot behind Bernalillo. Bernalillo did Los Alamos a solid Wednesday, picking up a 3-1 win over Santa Fe to not only clinch the district championship but also force a tie between the Hilltoppers and the Demons in the loss column.
Since Santa Fe, which was 13-8 heading into its season-ending doubleheader against Capital Saturday, was considered a reasonably secure at-large team heading into last week’s play, the only way the Demons can now get into the playoffs is if Los Alamos goes as well.
Even so, Los Alamos isn’t likely to get a great seed today. A No. 12 seed might be the best the team can hope for, but a 13 or 14 seems more likely, given Los Alamos’ power ranking for much of the season.
Hilltopper manager Roger Anaya said he wouldn’t mind not having to travel to Los Lunas this season, mostly because the two teams see each other so often, particularly at this time of the year, but that was just his preference.
“We always seem to end up playing them,” he said. “But we’re not going to worry about it. We’ll be ready for anyone we play.”
Los Alamos is still rated No. 15 in 4A, the same spot it has been the previous two weeks. If that rating translates to the team’s seeding, it would be matched up with Piedra Vista, one of the premier programs in the state.
Los Alamos’ softball team didn’t make the playoff field last season. Los Alamos’ baseball team earned a No. 8 seed last season and won its opening round series against Aztec in two games before falling in the second round to top-seeded Piedra Vista.