By Dave Wagner
Portales High’s Danielle Vasquez offered a pretty basic explanation on Monday of the Lady Rams’ recent success.
“We have good players on this team,” the sophomore left fielder said. “Defensively we’re pretty good, and our hitting is coming along.”
After sustaining a 10-2 loss at the hands of defending Class 1-2A state champion Jal on Thursday in the opening round of Dexter’s Lindsey Callaway tournament, PHS bounced back with 8-0 and 11-0 shutouts of Ruidoso and Eunice, respectively, to claim fifth place in the event.
The Lady Rams (7-4) hope to keep things going today with a 3 p.m. home doubleheader against Loving — the defending 1-2A runnerup. The Lady Falcons reached the tournament finals at Dexter, where they were scheduled to face Roswell High on Saturday night.
Portales lost a pair of games last season at Loving. PHS softball coach Robbie Crowley said she didn’t get a chance to see the Lady Falcons over the weekend.
“They were pretty good,” she said of Loving’s 2004 squad. “They had a lot of speed.”
The Lady Rams hung with Jal until the fifth inning on Thursday, when the Lady Panthers broke the game open with a five-run outburst.
“We just had one bad inning,” Crowley said. “We made a mistake, and one mistake led to more mistakes.
“But if our kids keep playing the way they’re capable of playing, we can compete with most teams.”
With District 4-3A play not far off, Jal figures to give the Lady Rams a good test of just where they stand.
“I think it’ll be good for us,” said Vasquez, who drove in three runs with a pair of singles in the win over Eunice. “It’ll help us get ready for district.
“We can beat them. We’ve just got to come out strong.”
Sophomore pitchers Shareesa Nusser and Sasha Parker combined for 11 shutout innings in the final two games at Dexter, and both made the all-tournament team.
Crowley expects her team to be ready for a good challenge in today’s twin bill.
“I’m pleased with where we’re at,” she said. “We’re by no means perfect, but if we keep going I think we’ll peak about the time we need to peak.
“I expect us to come out tomorrow and give them a good run for their money.”