RIO RANCHO – Some people were mystified as to why Capitan’s softball team wasn’t teeing off on Raton pitching, May 11, during the Class 3A/1A State tournament.
It may have been a mystery, but it wasn’t happening, and the Lady Tigers eventually fell, 9-6, to end their run at the State tournament.
“They were a little overeager at the plate,” said Capitan coach Kenny Espinosa. “Also this was the third game today, and our mountain girls aren’t used to that heat.”
Capitan (12-17) had already lost 14-0 to Loving earlier in the day to put them in the consolation bracket, then rallied to beat Eunice and set up their showdown with Raton.
In fact, it was a bad day all around for Lincoln County softball fans, as the Ruidoso Lady Warriors fell to Santa Fe Indian, 15-14, in a game held over from the night before due to rain.
Against Eunice, the Lady Tigers had a 2-0 lead early, only to see it evaporate in the top of the second as the Lady Cardinals pushed across five runs.
It took almost the entire rest of the game for Capitan to respond. That came in the fifth inning, when the Lady Tigers retook the lead with five runs and never looked back.
In the next game, Raton – remembering how Capitan forced them out of the State tournament last season on a walkoff single – scored often and early and held the lead the entire way, although Capitan threatened several times.
The Lady Tigers’ last score came in the fifth inning, when Lizbeth Quiroz tripled and scored on a sacrifice fly by Kylie Pruett.
Espinosa said this tournament was still satisfying, as the veteran leadership – seniors Quiroz, Aspen Caughron, Cheynne Marrs, Maggie Rich and juniors Pruett, Shelby Southard and Dominique Valadez –
“This experience for the younger girls was really a good deal,” Espinosa said. “The seniors played with heart and brought these girls in. We weren’t even expected to win in the first round.”