By Kevin Wilson
CLOVIS — Scoring runs had never been a problem for the Portales Lady Krew softball team. From early indications, defense is not a problem either.
The PLK scored more runs than any other team in last year’s USSSA state tournament, but finished fifth. Now, the 14-and-under squad is excelling in both facets of the game, but it still needs a win to play for the Lil’ Custom championship as a result.
The Lady Krew won two of its three Saturday games, scoring 33 runs and giving up 17 runs in the process. The figure is somewhat misleading, because most of those runs came against Portales in its 13-11 loss against the Lookouts.
They will play at 10 a.m. today at Clovis’ Guy Leeder Softball complex in a loser-out game. Should PLK advance, it would need two wins against the Lookouts to claim the championship in the double-elimination tournament.
Portales shut out Liberty in its opening matchup 10-0, then defeated Too Kool in a 12-4 triumph full of defensive gems. The defense kept opposition at bay, even while the PLK had its offensive troubles.
“Our hitting is getting there,” co-coach Richard Villanueva said following the second game. “In the first game, we had jitters.
“We’re just trying to put the best defensive players out there. They don’t catch them all, but we try.”
The Lady Krew jumped on Too Kool in the second, with RBI singles from Shaylene Gonzales and Jessica Adkins. The Lady Krew scored at least once in five consecutive innings, and all 11 Lady Krew starters (10 fielders, plus a designated hitter) had at least one hit. Adkins went 3 for 3 with three RBI, while Gonzales was 2 for 3 with two RBI and three runs scored to lead the team.
However, the team’s second-inning offense was all it would need thanks to consistent defense throughout. Too Kool was held to one run in the third inning, when Kristal Gutierrez was tagged out at the plate following Shauna Santos’ RBI single
Too Kool also came on the short end of another play at the plate in the sixth inning. Naomi Benitez hit a long ball into center field, but was tagged out at home to end any serious threat from the Alamogordo-based squad.
If given the option, Too Kool coach David Borunda said he’d send his runners home again in both scenarios.
“We’d go get it. They made the plays they had to make,” Borunda said. “You put pressure on them to make the perfect play, and they made it.”
Lady Krew pitcher Sabrina Villanueva scattered nine hits in her seven innings of work against Too Kool. Three of the four runs scored against her came unearned.