By Dave Wagner
Once the Portales softball team pulled out Saturday’s District 4-3A opener in extra innings, the rest was a piece of cake.
After first baseman Ashleah Richards’ two-run single capped a three-run eighth in Portales’ 11-10 win, the Lady Rams punished Ruidoso starter Appolonia Page for nine first-inning runs in the nightcap en route to a 14-4 romp.
“We were fortunate to come out with a win in the first game,” Portales coach Robbie Crowley said after her team improved to 7-6 (2-0 district). “But we had kids hit the ball when we needed it and we had kids step in when we needed them to.”
Portales’ starting second baseman, Rebekah Gonzales, missed the twin bill with the flu. Her replacement, Shareesa Nusser, went 3-for-3 in the second game but was injured in the third inning when her knee went out on her between second and third on a two-run double.
Portales never led until the end in the opener, falling behind 5-0 in the first as Ruidoso’s Vicki Celusniak belted a three-run triple. The Lady Rams tied the game three times, including 8-8 on a two-out error by the Lady Warriors (4-10, 0-4) in the bottom of the seventh.
After Ruidoso began the second-game scoring with two runs in the top of the first, Portales promptly sent 13 batters to the plate and collected seven hits in the bottom half, including two-run triples by catcher Ashley Flores and center fielder Erica Feliciano.
“Yesterday we worked really hard on our hitting,” said third baseman Adriana Romero, who had two hits in both games batting in the No. 9 hole. “I felt really confident in my hitting today.
“It’s really relieving to get those first two (district) games out of the way and get two good wins at home.”
After giving up 18 hits in the first-game win, Kassandra Richards kept Ruidoso in check in the second tilt, limiting the Lady Warriors to just five singles. Flores ended the contest on the 10-run rule with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the sixth.
“Those were two big games for us,” Crowley said. “Going in, we knew we had to sweep at home.”
Ruidoso was coming off a doubleheader loss at home on Friday against St. Michael’s.
“We did some good things today; we put the (bat) to the ball,” coach Billy Page said. “We left the bases loaded a couple of times (in the opener), but you have to give Portales credit. They made the plays when they had to.”