Lady Rams awarded first-round home game

PNT staff

The Portales Lady Rams earned a No. 7 seed in the 16-team Class 3A state softball tournament, and will host 10th-seeded Santa Fe Indian School in a 4 p.m. first-round matchup on Friday.

Pairings for state baseball and softball tournaments in Classes 3A-5A were announced on Sunday by the New Mexico Activities Association. The top eight seeds earn first-round home games before the remainder of the tournament moves to neutral sites.

The Portales baseball team, which finished third in District 4-3A, received a No. 12 seed and opens at fifth-seeded Las Vegas Robertson at 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The Lady Rams (15-11) have developed a rivarly with Santa Fe Indian in basketball in recent years, but have never faced the Lady Braves in softball.

PHS softball coach Robbie Crowley, whose team lost a 2-1 decision in eight innings on Monday night at Artesia, said she doesn’t know much about her first-round foe.

“(District rival) Ruidoso played them early in the year, and they said they were scrappy,” Crowley said.

Portales and Artesia were originally to have played a doubleheader on Monday, but the teams agreed to play a junior varsity game in the nightcap instead. Artesia also won that game 6-0.

The varsity tilt was a scoreless pitcher’s duel through seven innings. Playing the international tiebreaker — each team starts with a runner at second in extra innings — the Lady Rams got Vicki Huber to third base on Janette Spotswood’s infield out before she scored on a third-strike wild pitch with Sara Silva at bat.

The Lady Bulldogs, who had managed just two hits through seven innings against PHS junior Sasha Parker, immediately loaded the bases on a bunt single and a walk. A two-run single to right then won the game.

Parker allowed four hits with three walks and six strikeouts. Meantime, Artesia’s Rani Faulkerberry and Breanne Naylor combined on a one-hitter — Spotswood’s second-inning single.

“We had two errors early in the game and then we settled down,” Crowley said. “I wasn’t dsiappointed with how we played defensively, but we’re going to have to work hard this week on our hitting.”

Baseball — The Rams settled for a split on
Saturday at last-place Ruidoso, losing 5-1 and winning 12-3 in District 4-3A games.

Lovington, rained out of its finale at New Mexico Military, finished 10-0 in district play, while NMMI went 6-4, Portales 5-7 and Ruidoso 1-11.

Justin Gilchrist allowed eight hits with five walks and three strikeouts in the opener, but the Rams (13-12 overall) made four errors in the field. Ruidoso took control with three runs in the bottom of the first.

In the nightcap, Antonio Lucio went 6 2/3 innings, allowing five hits, and the Rams backed him with a 13-hit attack. They broke a scoreless tie with a four-run third and added four more in the seventh.

Sammy Hightower was 4-for-5 with a double and two RBIs. Gilchrist, who had a double, and Mario Salazar each went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBIs while Brandon Adkins finished 2-for-5.

Despite the seeds for the tournament, the Rams have swept Robertson in doubleheaders each of the past two seasons. On March 25, Portales posted 11-4 and 7-6 victories over the Cardinals in Las Vegas.