'Toppers will host Hawks in first round

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Baseball > LA picks up No. 7 seed for 4A playoffs

By Mike Cote

The Los Alamos Hilltopper baseball team will be staying home for the first round of the state Class 4A playoffs.
Los Alamos will face the Centennial Hawks in the best-of-3 series starting Friday and continuing through Saturday at Bomber Field. Friday's game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday's first game is set for 11 a.m. and, if necessary, the final game of the series will start at approximately 1 p.m.
The baseball playoff brackets were released Sunday evening. The Hilltoppers garnered a No. 7 seed for the tournament, which starts this weekend and continues next week when the venue shifts to Rio Rancho.
Hilltopper manager Mike Gill, who guided the team to a District 2-4A title this season, its sixth in a row, said his team landed right about where he expected it to land.
“I thought we’d end up anywhere between a No. 4 and a No. 7, because of our past history,” he said. “It didn’t surprise me one bit.”
Gill said Los Alamos will have to be prepared for Centennial. Centennial is a No. 10 seed, but has played some tough contests and will no doubt be ready for Los Alamos this weekend.
The Hilltoppers finished 2014 with a record of 20-6, the second-best win total in Class 4A this season — only the No. 2 seed Goddard Rockets had more wins. They won 14 straight games, including sweeping their 2-4A opponents this year.
Centennial, meanwhile, finished the season 17-9. The Hawks scored a 4A-best 229 runs on the year. Only Los Alamos, with 219 runs, was within 30 runs of the Hawks’ offensive output.
Gill said he didn’t know a ton about Centennial heading into the week, but he said at this point the focus would be on his team’s performance.
“You’ve got to take the same approach you have all year,” he said. “It’s going to be about how well we play. I can only control how prepared we are. We just have to focus on having the proper attitude.”
The Piedra Vista Panthers, the champions of District 1 and one of the most respected programs in the state, earned the No. 1 overall seed.
Goddard ended up with the No. 2 seed, followed by defending state champion St. Pius X at the No. 3 spot.
The winner of the Los Alamos-Centennial series will advance to play the winner between Goddard and 15th-seed Santa Teresa.