ALBUQUERQUE — The Portales Rams — and District 4-3A, in general —have made a loud statement in the Class 3A state baseball tournament.
Portales, seeded 12th in the 16-team field, advanced to the semifinals with an 18-6 rout of Bloomfield on Thursday at the University of New Mexico’s Lobo Field in a game shortened to five innings by the 10-run rule.
The Rams (15-12) will meet district rival and top-seeded Lovington in a 10 a.m. semifinal today at Lobo Field. The Wildcats dispatched 4-3A member New Mexico Military 12-2 on Thursday.
The fourth district team, No. 15 Ruidoso, also advanced with a 7-6 win over seventh seed Pojoaque. The Warriors play 11th-seeded St. Michael’s in a 1 p.m. semifinal today.
Saturday’s championship game is set for 11 a.m. at Isotopes Stadium.
Rams coach Arturo Ontiveros said his team came in with something to prove.
“We were kind of a little upset about the seeding we got,” he said. “All of our teams (in the district) are starting to make a statement right now.”
Junior Mario Salazar belted a single, double and triple, driving in three runs, to lead a 10-hit Portales attack that also benefitted from 10 walks, four hit batsmen and five errors by the fourth-seeded Bobcats (19-8). Portales scored five runs in the first to chase starter Kyle Newton, and opened a 17-0 bulge with an eight-run fourth.
Senior right-hander Justin Gilchrist allowed four hits and two runs over four innings, with no walks and four strikeouts.
First-year Bobcats coach Frank DeHoyos will have most of his key players back from Bloomfield’s best team in years.
“The bottom line is I didn’t do my job in getting this team ready to play,” he said. “And the kid on the bump (Gilchrist) did a heck of a job.”
Editor’s note: The Famington Daily Times provided information for this story.