Season winds to close for Heat

By Todd Fuqua

Photo by Todd Fuqua The 10U New Mexico Heat was the only full team from Ruidoso playing in this year's Playing For James tournament at Alamogordo this weekend. Coach Amanda Luevano said it was a pleasure coaching these girls and watching them learn and grow.

ALAMOGORDO – Summer has come to an end, at least for an intrepid group of girls from Ruidoso.

The 10U New Mexico Heat – which featured several ladies that had never played softball before – made an appearance at this year’s Playing For James tournament over the weekend.

The results weren’t stellar – they lost all five games they played – but the fact that they had remained together and grew in the sport was good enough for coach Amanda Luevano.

“It was definitely a learning experience for all the girls, coaches and parents,” Luevano said. “The teams we played against were very experienced and had at least five years on us, while we’re just beginning.”

There were other Ruidoso and Lincoln County girls playing in this tournament on various teams – of note was Capitan High School graduate Cheyenne Marss and Capitan senior Dominique Valadez – but the NM Heat was the only full team from Ruidoso taking the field in this tournament.

Actually, they were augmented by a few new faces – including Ruidoso’s Kasia Brown, who had played for the 8U Sassy Sluggers this summer.

Also joining the team from Otero County were Dealiny Ridley, Ellie Beug and Shauntavia Clark.

Those that were on the team from the very beginning back in April are Memphis Cardone, Molly Pena, Kadence Chavez, Jade Artiaga, Destiny Luevano, Haydin Byington, Annabella Chavez, Gracie Born, Gwen Fuqua, Makenzie Wilson and Alexx Chavez.

In their regular season, NM Heat won their final three games in the Alamogordo Girls Fastpitch League, but that success didn’t translate to the same fields during the Playing for James Tournament.

“We did pretty good for our first year,” Luevano said. “The girls were a little indimidated, but we just had to keep reminding them that they were here to have fun and learn.”

Despite the losses, Luevano said she couldn’t wait to coach these girls next season, and was looking forward to entering the team in the Williams Chiller tournament in Ruidoso in September.

“I hope to get the chance to keep this team together,” Luevano said. “We knew they can play ball and we believed in them. They have come a long way from the first day of practice.”

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