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Crandall leads Artesia to softball title

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Greg Brown Photo Kali Crandall fires a pitch during the regular season.

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

It may have seemed like a long journey for the Artesia High softball team during the 5A state playoffs. Now that the dust has settled the Lady Dogs have the trophy after dominating Farmington Saturday 13-2 and 13-0.

Artesia was the top team in 5A and after losing to the Scorpions 4-2 Friday morning they had to travel through the consolation side of the bracket. The Lady Dogs dominated Los Lunas and Aztec, knowing with one more loss they would be heading home early as the tournament switched from single elimination to double elimination.

Despite having an early edge on the Lady Dogs, Farmington felt the sting of Artesia, and for senior Kali Crandall the third and deciding game will be a fond memory for her and the rest of her teammates for decades to come.

Crandall went the distance in the final frame, going five innings, giving up two hits, one walk and striking out six.

“I was really trying to focus on keeping it low,” Crandall said. “He (the umpire) had a pretty tight strike zone. I threw a lot of dropped balls and it was hard to touch. My team had my back and whenever they tried to hit they were right here helping me out.”

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Crandall ends the season with a 29-4 record and an ERA of 1.29.

Crandall also helped her cause with the bat, getting two hits in four appearances. She drove in four runs with a double and a homer.

“I really struggled all week,” Crandall said of her hitting. “So I was just thinking today, ‘keep it short to the ball and find a way to get runners moving and runners in.'”

Artesia scored seven runs in the second inning, two in the fourth and four in the fifth. The game ended early on the mercy rule. The Lady Dogs had 14 hits in the win.

Last year, Artesia lost to Aztec in the title game. Crandall said winning it all this year is an amazing feeling.

“I just give all the credit to God because He’s blessed our team,” Crandall said. “It’s a feeling that sticks inside of you, especially with all of those hard days of practice, and it just feels like our effort pays off. It’s just a great feeling to go out there and know you tried your hardest and come out with a win.”

The last time Artesia won a softball title was back in 2001 and Crandall thinks community support this year was a major key to bringing home the winning trophy.

“I love the community and I love people,” Crandall said. “They really help and when I’m struggling they say, ‘you got this.’ The community has blessed me in so many ways, in teaching me lessons and teaching me how to be a better person.”

Crandall’s softball career didn’t end Saturday in Albuquerque.

“I’m going to be playing at a four-year college in Oklahoma called Oklahoma Christian University,” Crandall said.

While in Enid, she plans to major in biology with the hope of becoming a pediatric surgeon. Crandall wants to work in the missionary field as well.

 

 

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