By Kevin Wilson
Prior to Thursday’s final City League softball game, the Wildcats pulled a steal of a trade.
The new players? Ashley Flores, Hailey Quick and Caron Johnson — all from the Pros. The price? Nothing.
The reason? There was a game to play, and the Wildcats didn’t want to end their season by calling in a forfeit.
Thursday’s senior league playoff game went down as a forfeit, but the shorthanded Wildcats at least got to end their end their season on the field.
Wildcats coach Jessica Aranda said the team only had eight players coming into the game, a disadvantage coming into their matchup with the top-seeded Pros. With only a few minutes remaining before the game, Aranda said an upset parent pulled her daughter from the game.
The Wildcats were forced to make a decision on whether or not they would play — a loss was already guaranteed — and the opposing Pros decided a forfeited game was better than none at all.
“We decided to play for fun,” Aranda said, “and we had some of their girls volunteer, which is good.”
A few minutes later, Pros were facing Pros. Flores singled in the first inning off of pitcher Sabrina Villanueva.
“It’s fun,” Villanueva said. “I know where she hits and what she does.”
Then how did Flores, the temporary Wildcat shortstop, manage to get a hit off of the well-prepared pitcher?
“Because I’m not in the outfield, thank you very much.”
The game was full of joking, more informal than an average practice. Pros co-coach Webb Hutchens filled in as the umpire — the normal umpires were allowed to leave when the game was called a forfeit. Richard Villanueva took over full coaching duties for the Pros while Hutchens called balls and strikes.
“Most of the girls are on the state tournament team (Portales Lady Krew),” Villanueva said, “and some of the girls on the other team are too, so it’s practice for them.”
However, there aren’t many practices where players accuse each other of betrayal. Quick turned what might have been a triple into a single for Brittany Gonzales. Pros shortstop/resident jester Dora Garcia yelled, “You’re a traitor, Hailey.”
No score was kept during the game, except in the minds of the players. Johnson will likely remember a play at home where Hutchens called her out, just like Gonzales will remember how Flores robbed her of a second-inning single and hit her on the ankle with an errant throw in a later inning.
“It hurts,” Gonzales said, “but I can deal with it and I still love her.”
The Pros will play in the senior league championship on Monday, with their opponent yet to be determined.
The Outlaws and Diamonds face off on Monday at 5:30 p.m. for the right to face the Pros. That game will be followed by the pee-wee league (Cubs vs. Rangers, 6:40 p.m.) and junior league (Bears vs. Tigers, 7:50 p.m.) title games. The Outlaws-Diamonds winner returns to face the Pros at 9 p.m.
All games are at Portales’ City Softball Park.