By Eric Butler, Freedom Correspondent
FARMINGTON — Portales’ softball team had been having its merry way against opposing pitching in its first three games of the state tournament as the Rams advanced all the way to the title game for the first time in school history.
All that hitting, running, sliding and, most importantly, scoring came to an abrupt end against Bloomfield (24-6) on Saturday. In the Class 3A championship game. The Bobcats beat Portales 6-0. Bloomfield pitchers Kellie Mason and Kayla DeHerrera held the Rams to only two hits to claim the blue first place trophy.
Portales (20-9) got a trophy too, however, and Rams’ coach Robbie Crowley was quite happy about that.
“I’m proud of the kids and I’m proud of the red trophy,” Crowley said. “We don’t have one of those in softball. In fact, we didn’t a trophy in softball. That’s something to build on — it gets better every year.”
The Rams started senior Sasha Parker, the winning pitcher in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds. In the top of the second, Bloomfield started a four-run rally when the first batter — freshman Tiara Archibeque — hit a ball that ricocheted off Parker’s glove to get her to first. DeHerrera then hit a liner past Rams’ third baseman Janette Spotswood.
After the bases became loaded with Bobcats, Bloomfield’s Merceded Martinez hit a bloop single to right for a 1-0 lead. Later in the second, three more runs crossed the plate as Bloomfield opened a 4-0 advantage.
The Bobcats later reached Parker for single runs in both the third and fifth innings. Shareesa Nusser, the starter in Portales’ semifinal win over Santa Fe Indian, came in to pitch in the fifth and went the rest of the way.
Though the Rams’ hurlers did give up six runs total, it was far less than Bloomfield’s average of over 12 in the Bobcats’ first two games. The problem for Portales was reaching Mason, Bloomfield’s starting pitcher.
The first time through the Rams’ lineup, Mason struck out every Portales hitter who came to the plate. By the time her six-inning stint was over, the Bloomfield ninth-grader had fanned 15 Rams and allowed only one base runner — when Amanda Terry’s comebacker was thrown away by Mason in the fourth.
“We could’ve done better at the bats, because we haven’t practiced against the riseball,” said Portales senior catcher Jessica Adkins after the game.
“It always kind of goes back to that, because we don’t have a feeder program,” said Crowley, whose team had amassed 39 runs in its previous three games of the tournament. “We’ve been hitting well and I’m not disappointed in the kids one iota.”
The 2007 Portales softball squad, the first from the school to even win a state tournament game was senior-laden. Eight members of the roster, including eight starters, will graduate from high school shortly.
“There’s so many of us that wanted it and we knew we could do it. We just had to dig deep in our hearts to get it,” Adkins said. “We went over and beyond what people expected us to do.”