Rams win nailbiter, then rout to complete sweep

APITAN — The Portales Rams jumped all over Capitan in the first inning on Saturday, then had to hang on late for the win.

They had no such problems in the second game, following up their 12-9 squeaker with an 11-1 blowout of the Class 1A Tigers in the nightcap.

Capitan (11-4) pulled to 10-9 in the fourth inning of the opener, but freshman Grant Wagner pitched 3 1/3 innings of one-hit shutout ball to preserve the win. He struck out five and walked none.

"Grant's been doing that all year," PHS coach Art Ontiveros said. "He pounds the strike zone; people have to hit it (to get on base)."

In the second game, junior River Fine tossed a three-hitter as the Rams (15-5) won in six innings on the 10-run rule.

Sophomore catcher Matt Martinez had three hits in each game for the Rams. Fine added a 2-for-4 outing in the opener, while junior Jarret Faust banged a three-run double in Game 2.

Portales almost let the opener slip away, in part because of seven errors. Daniel Zapata struggled with control a bit and was hurt by the defense before Wagner was able to slam the door on the Tigers.

"I didn't realize we made that many errors," Ontiveros said. "I'm sure that's why it got close, although Daniel still had five walks."

Capitan took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap, but Fine had little trouble the rest of the way. He walked two and struck out seven.

"I think this probably was his best game of the year," Ontiveros said. "He had good command of his fastball and his curveball."

The Rams will finish the regular season with District 4-3A doubleheaders at Lovington on Tuesday and at home against Ruidoso on Friday. At 2-2 in district play, they need to sweep Lovington (5-1) and at least split with Ruidoso to claim the district championship.

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