By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
ALBUQUERQUE — Is Floyd’s Brad Lee a southerner or a northerner? Over the weekend, he was both — and a winner every time.
Lee was on the North squad at the six-man football North-South all-star game in Ruidoso on Friday night (see page 2B). The North won that clash as Lee saw action at defensive end, tight end and linebacker.
Later that same night, Lee reported for duty at the South hotel for the Class 1A-2A baseball series in Albuquerque. Once again, the recent Broncos standout was on the winning side as the South swept the North 8-1 and 18-6 to win the series. The North squad had won the Friday opener 7-6.
“We were representin’ the North pretty good yesterday. Now, all of a sudden, I’m in the South,” Lee said. “I don’t know — I just come out and play, I guess.”
Floyd baseball coach Cody May, a South assistant, said Lee had to make a quick transition.
“He was able to get here about two o’clock in the morning, so that shows a lot of character by that kid,” May said. “He called my room when he got here, but I didn’t answer. I was asleep.”
Broncos and Bronchos were instrumental in helping the South to the doubleheader sweep.
In the nightcap, Lee and Floyd teammate Matt Benoit each stroked singles in a 20-hit barrage by the southerners.
But it was Grady pitcher Domingo Diaz who also played a pivotal role. The recent Bronchos senior started the game for the South and did allow three runs in his first two innings.
Add to that, however, a 1-2-3 inning in the third and his performance was easily one of the best from the mound in the second game.
“My confidence level really wasn’t too high. I hurt my arm about halfway through the high school season,” Diaz said. “I hadn’t pitched a game since the end and, still, I don’t have the speed that I once had before.”
Nothing was apparently wrong with his bat as Diaz went 4-for-5 for the plate, including a pair of doubles.
“He’s a quite, easy-going kind of kid,” Dora and South head coach Ty Thatcher said of Diaz. “But he’s quite an athlete. I’ve seen him play basketball and on the (baseball) field too, and he can hit the ball.”
Thatcher’s unit got a big pitching performance from Mesilla Valley’s Paul Smith, who scattered four hits and hurled a complete game in the opener. A two-triple day from Magdalena’s Trowen Vinyard, as well as a two-run homer from Eunice’s Ulysses Anguiano, was more than enough ammo for Smith.
“The first day, it seemed like they were all pretty tight,” Thatcher said of his squad. “But we got off to a good hitting start in that first game (Saturday) and kind of got it going.”
By the time of the second game, the South’s wheels were full in motion. Starting for the South, besides Lee, Benoit and Diaz were Texico’s Zane Anderson and Dora’s Tyler Wilhoit.
Anderson clubbed a triple to deep left-center in the third inning while Wilhoit was 3-for-3 in his plate appearances — including a double to the left field corner, also in the third.
“I just got a hold of it,” Wilhoit said. “Got it on the sweet spot,” Wilhoit said. “That’s what you’ve got to do.”