Portales senior Cruz Ontiveros steals second during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader. (PNT Staff Photo: Jesse Wolfersberger)
After he shot a rocket off the first basemen’s glove in the bottom of the seventh, Portales senior catcher Lynn Pinedo said two words came to mind.
“Game over,” he said.
Pinedo’s single drove in the game-winning run to give the Rams a 7-6 win and a doubleheader sweep against Las Vegas Robertson Saturday at Portales High School.
After winning the first game 11-4, Portales fell behind 6-1 by the end of the fifth inning of game two.
The Rams mounted a comeback, scoring three runs in the sixth to enter their bat in the seventh down two runs. Portales loaded the bases, and senior Justin Gillchrist smacked a two-run single into right field to tie the game, then Pinedo’s single won it — all with no outs.
Pinedo said he approached the at-bat with a business-like attitude.
“I had a job to get done,” Pinedo said. “It’s good to let my teammates know they can count on me in pressure situations.”
Pinedo went 3-for-3 in the second game with two stolen bases.
Portales coach Arturo Ontiveros said the second game against Robertson was a big boost for his team.
“When a team comes back from being down that many runs,” Ontiveros said. “Their confidence level just shoots through the roof.”
Winning from behind is nothing new for Portales. The Rams (6-4) came back from an 8-2 deficit earlier in the week against Lubbock Christian.
Ontiveros said winning so easily in the first game had a lot to do with falling behind in the second game.
“I think there was a little letdown,” he said. “I think the kids got a little relaxed and said, ‘We can beat this team.’ We just kind of went through the motions for the first five innings.”
Senior second basemen Sammy Hightower went 3-for-5 with a double and two stolen bases and junior Mario Salizar was 2-for-5 with five RBIs in the first tilt.
Hightower said his team did not have any fire in the early going of game two.
“The second game we got content,” he said. “And we started pretty slow.”
The Rams ran all over the Cardinals in both games, stealing nearly every time they reached first base.
Ontiveros said he continued sending runners because he didn’t think Robertson’s catcher could gun them down.
“We noticed in the first game that their catcher didn’t have real good feet, real good hands, and his arm wasn’t real strong,” Ontiveros said. “So we were stealing pretty much at will. We’re going to take what they give us, and if they’re going to give us second, we’re going to take it.”
The Portales coach said the stolen bases were the biggest reason his team was able to score 18 runs in the double dip.
“It was huge, huge,” Ontiveros said. “When a kid is on first base, it’s hard to score them from first. But when you get them to second, now a whole bunch of other things can happen to get that kid home.”