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Members of the inaugural 1988 Lady Bulldog softball team in attendance at Saturday’s ceremony pose for a photo prior to taking the field. They are, front row from left, Jennifer Ybarra, Norma Luevano Gabaldon, center row from left, Mykol Williams Horner, Jeannie Montoya, Terri McKee Flores, back row from left, assistant coach Melany Cardwell, Hilda Valenzuela, and head coach Bill Hardt. Not pictured are Lori Garcia Grado, Janie Anderson Fugate, Tisha Gleghorn, Carol Maldonado Alvarado, Gracie Marquez, Cyndi Ramirez Ryan, Christie Stark Harris, Michelle Stark Whitmire and Kelli Taylor. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)

In 1987, Mike Williams wrote a proposal and presented it to the Artesia Public Schools Board of Education, requesting that softball be made a NMAA-sanctioned team at Artesia High School.

The proposal was passed by the board with several restrictions. The softball team would be allowed to use the name “Artesia” but was not allotted any money or sponsored by the schools. Their scheduled consisted primarily of games against Carlsbad’s varsity and JV teams, along with Hobbs and Loving. Mike Williams and Martin Green (woo, Dad!) were the coaches for softball’s inaugural year in Artesia.

The 1987 softball team was a very determined bunch. They held many fundraisers, such as car washes and bake sales, went door-to-door in their neighborhoods and to local merchants asking for donations, held raffles, sold burritos and sno cones… you name it, these girls did it.

The money raised was used for uniforms, travel expenses, umpires, equipment, and field upkeep (AHS softball originally competed at what is officially known as Larry Taylor Field, the old men’s fastpitch field near the northeast corner of the walking track at Jaycee Park).
During this time, Artesia was part of Class 3A.

In 1988, softball became a fully supported and sponsored sport at AHS, coached by Bill Hardt, assisted by Melany Cardwell. What a year it was! The Lady Bulldogs beat Bayard Cobre in the 3A state championship game. Cobre had won seven consecutive state titles and was favored to win an eighth. Not only did the Artesia girls end that streak, they beat the previously undefeated team 5-1.

The Lady Bulldogs finished their 1988 campaign with a regular-season record of 11-11, a postseason record of 3-0 (also defeating St. Pius, 5-2, and Bloomfield, 6-5, en route to the championship), and a blue trophy.

First baseman Gracie Marquez, second baseman Norma Rodriquez, shortstop Lori Garcia, outfielder Christie Stark, pitcher Mykol Williams, and catcher Michelle Stark were all named to the All-State First Team, outfielder Tisha Gleghorn was a Second-Team selection, and DH Kelli Taylor received Honorable Mention.

Williams was also named the 1988 All-State MVP and Hardt the 1988 Coach of the Year.

The Lady Bulldog softball team celebrated the 30th anniversary of its inclusion as an official school sport at Artesia High School Saturday by honoring the 1988 team. Above, 1988 All-State MVP Mykol Williams Horner, now secretary at AHS, throws out the first pitch prior to the Lady ‘Dogs’ win over Valencia at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex. (Brienne Green – Daily Press)