Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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Rio Grande baseball state tournament preview

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Teams have been seeded for the 2024 state baseball tournament, and there was a bit of a log jam in class 5A. There was a four-way tie between Sandia, Volcano Vista, Carlsbad, and Rio Grande, and the Ravens lost the tiebreaker to end up as the eighth seed.

Despite the lower seed, Rio Grande is one of five teams that finished the regular season with at least 20 wins. The team has nine come-from-behind wins this year and has an 18-2 record over its last 20 games.

With a six-deep rotation on the mound, and 16 players with previous playoff experience, Rio Grande feels confident that it can knock off plenty of teams this year.

“I’m just super excited because everyone always doubts us,” said senior Lane Shrader. “Everybody never expects the South Valley to be higher than everybody else or succeed.”

“We never give up,” said coach Orlando Griego. “We fight to the very bitter end, and I can’t say that for any team that I’ve ever coached. I feel as confident going into this state tournament as I have in any of my 29 years.”

Rio Grande is also dedicating its postseason run to something bigger than baseball. Isaac Venzor Prado was a member of the Ravens team who died earlier in the season from a heart condition. Since his passing, the Ravens have rallied behind him and only lost one game. They said they are playing with ten players on the field and an angel in the outfield.

“That really made us come together more as a team and realize life isn’t easy, life is short,” said junior Jackson Brettelle. “I feel like ever since he’s passed, it’s really been our motivation to play for him.”

“I feel like everyone just has a fire in their heart that they want to go win it,” said junior Sebastian Chavez. “We just want it this year more than we’ve wanted it in the past years.”

Rio Grande opens the state tournament with a three-game series against Eldorado beginning on Friday.

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