Rams hold on for Littlefield title

PNT Staff

LITTLEFIELD, Texas — Senior Todd Mosier hit a leadoff triple in the bottom of the fifth and scored on a two-out wild pitch to give the Portales High baseball team a 10-9 victory over Abernathy (Texas) on Saturday for the championship of Littlefield’s Wildcat Classic.
The Rams (4-0) fell behind 6-0 in the top of the first, but came back in a game called in the bottom of the fifth because of the tournament’s two-hour time limit.
Junior Sammy Hightower relieved PHS starter Lawrence Gamble with one out in the first and went the rest of the way. The Rams tied the game with a four-run third before both teams scored three times in the fourth.
First-year coach Arturo Ontiveros said he was pleasantly surprised to win the tournament.
“It’s early and we were just wanting to play some games and play as well as we could,” he said. “Coming out on top like that, it’s a plus.”
Seniors Tyler Rutherford and Jacob Lopez each went 2-for-4 to lead the Rams’ eight-hit attack. Rutherford, second baseman-pitcher Mario Salazar, pitcher-outfielder Justin Gilchrist and shortstop Eric Ornelas were named to the all-tournament team.
“Eric’s been playing very good defense for us,” Ontiveros said. “I think he’s only made one error in four games.
“Justin’s kind of struggling with his hitting right now, which we hope to get corrected, but he’s throwing the ball as good as anybody we’ve got.”
Portales advanced to the finals on Friday with a 10-5 win over Idalou, Texas. That game ended in the bottom of the sixth on the time limit, with Portales in the middle of a three-run inning.
Salazar went the distance in that game, allowing seven hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Lopez led the offense with 3-for-3, while Rutherford went 2-for-3 and Ornelas hit a triple.
The Rams play their first game outside of Littlefield on Friday, hosting Eunice in a 4 p.m. doubleheader at Ram Field.
Ontiveros said he hopes to take a longer look at his pitching depth against the Cardinals.
“We’re going to try to keep Mario and Justin down to a low pitch count,” he said. “We’ll probably throw Tyler and Eric Ornelas, and maybe give Lawrence Gamble another opportunity.”