RUIDOSO – After a less-than-stellar pre-district performance this season, the Ruidoso softball team has shown it can win when it counts the most.
That was apparent over the weekend, when the Lady Warriors took to the road and came home with a doubleheader sweep of Hope Christian in Albuquerque.
“I knew these girls had it in them, and it really came out at Hope,” said Ruidoso coach Sal Beltran. “I’ve never lost confidence in these girls, and I know they can play. They have the ability and desire, and I saw it come out Saturday when they swept Hope.”
On April 18, Ruidoso won again, although there were only able to manage a split with Portales at Gavilan Canyon Field, winning game one, 17-7, in six innings, then dropping a 20-9 decision in seven innings in the nightcap.
Even with the loss, Ruidoso (7-10, 3-1 District 4-4A) could have secured the lead in the district standings, had they been able to bring in Macey Boyittle, standing at third with a run that would have made it an exact 10-run difference in game two.
That would have still meant a 10-run win for Portales (9-7, 3-1), but it would have been a 10-run win in seven innings, as opposed to the six-innings needed by Ruidoso in the opener.
That one-run difference is all that separates Ruidoso from first place right now.
Still, they did get a win over the Lady Rams, and Beltran is a happy coach right now.
“I tip my hat to these girls. It’s been a long time since we’ve beat Portales,” Beltran said. “This was a big win for these girls.”
Game one was unusual, as the Lady Rams didn’t go with ace Wendy Baeza in the circle, instead relying on Aymri Chavez to pitch.
Ruidoso teed off on Chavez for 22 hits, including a 4-5 performance and a home run by Lia Mosher. Gracie Hooker also added four-bagger in the victory.
“I was really surprised they didn’t throw her (Baeza) in that first game,” Beltran said. “I don’t know why they didn’t, but I thank them for it. But we still had to hit the ball.”
According to Portales coach Robbie Crowley, Baeza had been battling an injury, thus she didn’t pitch both games.
But the injury didn’t seem to affect her too bad in game two. Ruidoso still came up with 11 hits on her, but couldn’t come untracked like they did in the opener.
Portales, however, was able to push a number of runs across on Torri Trapp, who did pitch both games. Her fatigue was evident by the time Mosher spelled her in the circle in the seventh inning.
Portales scored 11 times to put the win out of reach for the Lady Warriors, but they still had hope of getting back to within 10.
“Torri’s been struggling with some hurt ribs. She was fine after the first game, but there toward the end, they started bothering her,” Beltran said. “That’s what threw us off a little bit.”
Now the Lady Warriors host Moriarty this Saturday, April 22, with a noon start in the double header, while Portales is at Hope Christian.
If Ruidoso can sweep the Pintos – and if Hope Christian can win at least one against the Lady Rams – then Ruidoso would have the district title and tons of momentum heading into the State tournament.
“Hope Christian and Portales are both well respected teams,” Beltran said. “Beating both these teams should give us a big boost into State.”