RIO RANCHO – To start their Class 4A State quarterfinal game against Portales, May 11, it looked as though the Ruidoso Warriors were going to make short work of the Rams.
Portales made two errors in the first inning, but the Warriors weren’t able to capitalize.
In the end, it was the Rams who made the most of Ruidoso miscues in a 14-4 victory to end the Warriors’ season.
To be sure, it was a disappointing end for Ruidoso, but coach Gilbert Alvarado was still proud of what his team had accomplished this season.
“I’m really proud of the kids keeping this program going,” Alvarado said. “That’s three straight winning seasons, four out of the last five.”
Ruidoso (14-11-1) allowed six runs in the second inning on three hits and three errors. There was also a dropped third strike that allowed the inning to continue.
More than actual fielding miscues, there were also a few mental mistakes that didn’t make it into the scorecard that were just as damaging.
“When you give someone that many outs in an innings – I think we had seven free outs in the second – people like Portales are going to take advantage, and they did.”
By the time Ruidoso finally put runs on the board – three in the 4th inning thanks in part to a two-run double by Brandon Ingle – Portales (22-7) already had this game in hand.
Emilio Lovato took the win for the Rams with a complete game performance, striking out four and walking just one in six innings.
Alex Bates, meanwhile, was the victim of bad luck. He wasn’t pitching badly – he was getting ground balls like he wanted for the most part – there were just too many errors. Six to be exact.
“Once they put up that six spot, that was too much for us to recover from,” Alvarado said.
Conversely, at the plate, the Warriors were hitting the ball on the screws many times, but they were finding their way into Portales’ glove with ease.
“I liked the way we were swinging the bats, we were getting things on the barrel,” said Ruidoso coach Gilbert Alvarado. “They kicked a few and we couldn’t push runs across. And then, man, we just fell apart in the second inning.
“Alex pitched great, he got a lot of ground balls and a lot of popups, it’s what we wanted,” he added. “We just couldn’t make a play to help him out.”
There’s a good contingent of seniors graduating from this squad – Bates, Ingle, Kyler Woodul, Cisco Mayville, Brooks Jarrell and Saul Marmalejo – but those returning will come back with a renewed sense of purpose and a desire to finally get this program to the top.
We want the program to stay winning, and it’s not like we’re playing a bunch of 2A and 3A schools,” Alvarado said. “We’re matching up with 5A and 6A schools early on, and those boys are still finding ways to win.”