RUIDOSO – It’s not like the Ruidoso Lady Warrior softball team wasn’t hitting on March 14, they just couldn’t hit enough.
Well, the errors didn’t help, either.
Ruidoso racked up 13 hits but also committed six miscues in a 17-11 loss to West Las Vegas at Gavilan Canyon Field.
“These errors are killing us,” said Ruidoso coach Sal Beltran. “We had several in the first inning that gave them four runs. We just need to cut down on the errors and we’ll be alright.”
While it was their second loss to start the season, at least the Lady Warriors were hitting and scoring more. In Monday’s season-opener at Dexter, Ruidoso was almost shut out but for a home run by shortstop Sawyer Mowdy in a 12-1 loss.
On Tuesday, it was designated hitter Andee Roach who came up with the big blow, a two-run homer over the left field fence – it was almost caught by her father watching in the bleachers – in the fifth inning.
That was part of the Lady Warriors’ resurgence in the later innings, a resurgence that was needed after three innings of being shut out by West pitchers Andrea and Jade Ulibarri.
Ruidoso’s power outage was puzzling, as the Lady Warriors pushed across five runs and batted around in the first inning to take a 5-4 lead.
“Yeah, we had a power outage there in the middle where we couldn’t score anything,” Beltran said. “Hitting is contagious. Once it starts, it keeps going. But once it stops, everybody stops.”
The Lady Dons, meanwhile, kept up their hitting throughout the game. The only innings West didn’t score were the fifth and seventh frames.
That’s what allowed the Lady Dons to take the kind of big lead they needed to withstand Ruidoso’s comeback near the end.
On paper, the Lady Warriors should have won this game. They outhit West Las Vegas and actually committed one fewer error.
But they also left nine runners on base. They couldn’t score when they had the chance.
“We’ve just got to keep hitting the ball, stay aggressive,” Beltran said. “
Gracie Hooker had the best night hitting for the Lady Warriors, going 4-for-5 with one run batted in and two doubles, but it could have been three doubles had she not been thrown out at second on one hit.
She also should have scored more, as evidenced by her being thrown out at third on a bloop single by Lia Mosher.
Hooker wasn’t the only one making mental mistakes like that – a throw to first instead of an easy out at second by Mowdy here, numerous dropped fly balls in the outfield there – and it was those mistakes that ultimately cost Ruidoso.
There’s quite a bit of time for the Lady Warriors to regroup before their appearance at the Lindsey Callaway Tournament in Dexter starting March 23 with a 1 p.m. game against Raton.