Lady Rams keep rolling by sweeping past Loving

By Dave Wagner

Jessica Adkins didn’t come to bat every time with the bases loaded in Tuesday’s doubleheader against Loving, although it may have seemed that way.
The Portales High sophomore delivered six RBIs with three hits and a bases-loaded walk, helping the Lady Rams sweep past Loving 10-0 and 12-4 at PHS’ windswept softball field.
Adkins drove in four runs in the opener in support of a five-inning, one-hit shutout by sophomore Shareesa Nusser. She doubled with runners at second and third in the fifth and hit a two-run, bases-loaded single in the sixth.
In the second game, Adkins hit a bases-loaded RBI single in the third and drew a bases-loaded walk in the fifth. She then struck out with two more runners in scoring position in the sixth.
“I was waiting for an off-speed (pitch), but she fooled me,” Adkins said of her last at-bat, against Loving’s Melanie Valdez.
PHS (9-4) extended its shutout string to three games and 16 innings in the opener as Nusser allowed a first-inning leadoff single by Catrina Carrillo, then struck out the next six hitters and allowed only two more runners. She finished with 10 strikeouts and one walk.
Loving’s Shanise Fuentes struck out the side in each of the first three innings, but couldn’t overcome a six-walk first that staked PHS to a 3-0 lead. The Lady Rams then got four runs on four hits in the fourth, including a two-run single by Adriana Romero, and finished it on the 10-run rule with a three-run fifth.
Adkins played second base in the opener, but was relegated to designated player duties in the nightcap because she is nursing a groin injury.
“We’re a really young team; we only have one senior,” Adkins said. “But I think we’ve really picked it up. Our goals are to win district and to win state.”
Valdez kept the Lady Rams at bay until the third inning of the nightcap when they erupted for five runs, capped by junior first baseman Ashleah Richards’ two-run single, and a 5-1 lead. After the Lady Falcons (5-5) closed to 6-4, PHS broke it open for good with a six-run sixth that included a two-run single by Sabrina Villaneuva and RBI singles by Danielle Vasquez and winning pitcher Sasha Parker.
“I was pleased with our hitting,” PHS coach Robbie Crowley said. “I felt like we were disciplined, and we adjusted (to the pitchers).
“Loving’s a good team; they made us stay on our toes. But we made adjustments and battled through it.”
Romero led Portales’ 10-hit attack in the nightcap, going 3-for-4 with a triple. Parker went the distance in the circle, allowing five hits with three walks and 11 strikeouts.
The Lady Rams play in Artesia’s Lady Dog Invitational this weekend, facing the host team in a 6 p.m. first-round game on Friday. The championship game is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday.

First game
Portales 10, Loving 0
Loving 000 00 — 0 1 0
Portales 300 43 —10 6 2
Shanice Fuentes and Katrina Valdez; Shareesa Nusser and Sara Silva. W — Nusser. L — Fuentes. LOB — Loving 3, Portales 7. 2B — Portales: Jessica Adkins. T — 1:33.

Second game
Portales 12, Loving 4
Loving 100 210 0 — 4 5 1
Portales 005 106 x —12 10 3
Melanie Valdez and Briana Romero; Sasha Parker and Silva. W — Parker. L — M. Valdez. DP — Loving 1. LOB — Loving 6, Portales 5. 2B — Loving: Veronica Valdez. 3B — Loving: M. Valdez. Portales: Adriana Romero. T — 1:56.