Lady Rams capture Artesia tourney

PNT Staff

ARTESIA — The Portales Lady Rams swept the top three divisions in singles on Friday and the top two in doubles on Saturday to capture the championship in the eight-team Artesia Invitational tennis tournament.

Portales finished with 60 team points, with Artesia coming in second and Lovington placing third. In boys competition, New Mexico Military won the team title with 68 points to 60 for Portales, while Lovington placed third.

Junior Ella Erf took the No. 1 singles title for Portales’ girls, while soplhomores Bethany Self and Kassandra Short claimed championship match wins at Nos. 2 and 3 singles.

In final-round matches, Erf beat Lovington Daniella Olivas 6-0, 6-1, while Self was a winner over Amanda Bendixsen of Carlsbad 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 and Short topped Lovington’s Alina Peredeyko 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

At No. 1 doubles, Erf and Self defeated Olivas and Heather Maker of Lovington 6-1, 6-2 for the title, while Short and soplhomore Tessa Bryant won the No. 2 title with a 7-5, 6-4 decision over Shara and Harmeson of Carlsbad.

“Our top four played really strong throughout the tournament, and our (Nos.) 5 and 6 players are improving,” PHS girls coach Michelle Wallis said. “I was really proud of Ella Erf and Bethany Self; I think they’re doing really well.”

Bryant won two of three matches and placed third for the Lady Rams at No. 4 singles, while sophomores Jana Nance at No. 5 and Tara Thron at No. 6 bounced back from first-round losses to claim fifth place in their brackets. Nance and Thron also rallied from a first-round loss for the consolation championship at No. 3 doubles.

All six boys singles entrants went 2-1 in bracket play for the Rams, who earned three second-place finishes and three thirds.

Runnerup finishes were posted by senior Matt Tucker, who lost in the finals to Lovington’s Alex Black 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 at No. 2; by freshman Walker Partin, who was beaten by NMMI’s Mark Helfman 6-0, 6-0 at No. 4, and by junior Skyler Partin at No. 5 after he fell to NMMI’s Eric McMahon 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 in the title match.

Finishing third were senior Logan Brown at No. 1, junior Kyle Adams at No. 5 and junior Davey Riser at No. 6.

In doubles, the Rams reached the finals against NMMI opponents in all three divisions, winning two.

Brown and Tucker took the No. 1 division, beating Lynch and King 6-2, 6-2, while Skyer Partin and Riser prevailed in the No. 3 finals over Huston and Gonzales 6-1, 6-4. Meantime, Adams and Walker Partin lost to Helfman and McMahon 6-0, 6-2 at No. 2 doubles.

“It was a good tournament for us,” PHS boys coach Wade Fraze said. “We didn’t do as well as we’d have liked in singles, but our doubles play was fairly strong.

“I just felt like we improved from top to bottom this weekend.”

Portales returns to action at 3 p.m. Tuesday when it hosts Artesia in dual matches.

Softball — The Portales Lady Rams cranked out 12 hits and improved to 8-6 on Saturday with a 12-2 victory at Eunice.

Junior Sasha Parker pitched a complete-game for Portales, allowing six hits and striking out 11 while walking no one.

Amanda Terry led the attack, going 3-for-4, while Rebekah Gonzales, Sara Silva and Jenette Spotswood all added a pair of hits. Silva drove in three runs, two with a fourth-inning triple.

The Lady Rams got an RBI double from Vicki Huber in a four-run first, then expanded the lead to 11-2 with three in the fourth and four in the fifth.

“We hit the ball well,” PHS coach Robbie Crowley said. “Our hitting is starting to come around. And Sasha threw pretty well today.”

The PHS junior varsity lost to Eunice 7-6.

The Lady Rams return to action on Saturday in the District 4-3A pre-district tournament at Lovington. Portales plays the host Lady Wildcats at 10 a.m., followed by Lovington vs. Ruidoso at noon and Portales vs. Ruidoso at 2 p.m.