The Portales High softball team reduced its magic number to one for clinching a Class 3A playoff spot Tuesday, earning a split over District 4-3A leader Lovington at City Softball Park.
Portales beat Lovington 4-2 in the opener but dropped the nightcap 4-1. Portales (10-11, 6-4 district) had never beaten Lovington in softball before the split.
“It was a big win for us. Right now, we’re in second. We need at least one from St. Mike’s (Saturday),” Portales coach Robbie Crowley said.
Portales has two district games remaining in the form of a Saturday doubleheader at St. Michael’s. One Portales win, or one St. Michael’s loss, will give the Lady Rams the runnerup spot in the district. The Lady Horsemen have a Friday doubleheader against Lovington before hosting Portales on Saturday.
The Lady Rams still have an outside chance to win the district title, but would need a sweep against St. Michael’s and four-straight losses from Lovington. The Lady Wildcats hold a tiebreaker over Portales with a 3-1 advantage in head-to-head play.
“I think the split probably prevented that,” Crowley said of Portales’ chances of finishing first in district.
The Lady Rams scored all four of their opening-game runs in the first inning, with Erica Feliciano’s two-run triple doing the most damage. Feliciano scored on a single from Kassandra Richards, who came around to score on a Kelly Parkey single.
Crowley was pleased with Portales’ performance against Lovington ace Stephanie Ganaway, even though the senior pitcher allowed just one run over the remaining 13 innings of play.
“We hit the ball against her,” Crowley said. “I was very pleased with making contact, because that hasn’t been the case in the past.”
Feliciano scored the lone run for Portales in the nightcap on a single by Parkey.