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In 2018, the Artesia Bulldogs ended the softball season as state champs.  2019 is a new year with a new classification and a new roster.

“It’s a lot different than what we’ve had in the past,” explained head coach Sandra Pulido.  “This is kind of like a first-year group for us, granted we have seven that came back from last year’s squad but we have 7-8 new girls on varsity.”

“Last year we had a lot of natural talent but we still worked very hard,” said senior Melody Payne. “This year we’re having to work a lot harder but it’s getting there.”

The roster is loaded with juniors looking to make a name for themselves in Class 4A.

“This group we’re scrappier than in the past.  The last three years it was more finesse, than anything.  I think that’s the word we like to use.  We’re scrappier with this group.  They find a way to fight and get the job done and it’s exciting.”

Fourth year head coach Sandra Pulido doesn’t rely on last year’s laurels to push this team.

“We try not to think about what we did last year,” she said.  “Yes, it’s great that we have that accolade on our resume but we have to take it one game, one inning, one thing at a time. We have a target on our backs, but at the same time we have to focus on what we do and what we do well in order to get back there.”

Artesia is now in the same classification as eight-time defending state champ Silver, making the competition for the blue trophy very interesting.

Artesia (8-1) is at Carlsbad on Friday.

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