RUIDOSO – A wild night and lots of offense ended with a split, April 5, as Capitan and Ruidoso’s softball teams both came away from Gavilan Canyon Field with wins.
Capitan took the opener, 25-12, while Ruidoso won 21-11 in the nightcap.
It was a sometimes chaotic doubleheader, with several defensive miscues and a lot of home runs on both sides.
“Our hitting was on in both games,” said Ruidoso coach Michelle Mejia. “In the first game, the only issue we had was adjusting from the slower to faster pitcher. But I have no complaints about that first game.”
Both teams used the game to try out new pitchers – or at least pitchers that hadn’t had a lot of innings – in an effort to find someone to spell their starters with the onset of district play.
For the Tigers (4-5) that meant putting Destanie Magnone in the circle to start game one and Shelby Southard in the nightcap.
“I want to keep Dominique healthy, and I wanted to see what these girls can do,” said Capitan coach Kenny Espinosa. “I put a bunch of girls in different spots, too. Mackenzie (Nunez) had never caught before, and she wanted to give it a try. She did a great job.”
Both did fairly well, although Ruidoso’s bats were quick enough to keep things close through three innings in the first game before Dominique Valadez moved over from third to pitch.
Valadez is Capitan’s ace, and showed it by shutting down the Warriors (1-7) the rest of the way.
She did the same thing in game two, but her entrance came too late to avoid a 10-run rule early end.
In game one, Ruidoso earned all 12 runs in the first three innings on eight hits, including a three-run home run by Macey Boydille and a grand slam by Gracie Hooker in the fourth.
It was part of a huge hit parade for both squads. The Tigers had home runs of their own from Dominique Valadez (2) and Southard.
After Valadez came on to pitch and shut down the Warriors, Capitan exploded for 16 runs in the last four innings.
Ruidoso had their no. 1 pitcher Arika Rivas to start game one, with Amanda Marquez coming on in the top of the seventh to throw one strike and get her team into the final half-inning.
Marquez started game 2, allowed three runs in the top of the first, but stayed consistent enough to allow the Warriors to tie it a 7-all in the bottom of the second.
By the end of the second frame, Ruidoso led 16-7.
By the end of the game, Rivas was again pitching, as the Tigers got to within five runs on Valadez’s second home run of the night.
“Arika is mentally tough for being a ninth grader,” Mejia said. “But right now, we only have two pitchers. Mayve (Medrano) is my main pitcher for JV, and I just don’t have anyone else. But if Arika and Amanda can hold it down like that for a few more games, I think we’ll be pretty set.”
Capitan didn’t score again after Rivas returned to the circle, and it was the Tigers’ turn to drop balls and make miscues in the field. Valadez came back to pitch in the fifth, but by that point, one more run was all the Warriors needed to end the game.
Ruidoso is hoping to get one or two more wins this weekend in Las Cruces at the Battle at the Crosses tournament hosted by Mesilla Valley. They take on Lordsburg at 1 p.m. today, followed by Estancia at 5 p.m.
On Saturday, games are determined by the outcome of pool play.
These two teams face each other one more time in Capitan, April 12, then it’s nothing but district play for both teams.
Capitan has already played Loving and Dexter this season, falling in both games, but the Dexter loss was a close 6-0 affair.
What’s more, Tularosa came up with a 10-6 victory over Loving on the same day, illustrating how tough District 4-3A/1A will be this season.
“All our district games are really close,” Espinosa said. “We’ll see how it goes, we have to get serious and improve on the little things. One error can mean a game.”
Capitan hosts Jal on Saturday at 1 p.m.