By Dave Wagner: PNT sports writer
The Lovington Lady Wildcats took a while to solve Portales junior Sasha Parker on Tuesday.
Parker was in total command in the opener of the team’s District 4-3A doubleheader at PHS, no-hitting the Lady Wildcats until Denise Marquez punched a one-out single up the middle in the top of the seventh.
Parker retired the next two hitters, though, to finish off a 3-0 shutout for the Lady Rams.
Lovington then went hitless until the third inning of the second game, but rained 13 hits on Portales over the next four innings to notch a 10-6 win.
The split leaves the Lady Rams (13-7) and Lovington (6-14) tied for the lead in the three-team district at 3-1.
“I think we just kind of relaxed and took things for granted,” PHS coach Robbie Crowley said of the second game. “We’ve had three days off (from school) and it kind of showed. We looked a little lethargic.”
Parker won a pitchers’ duel from Lovington’s Chelsea Moreno in the opener. The Lady Rams scratched out single runs in the third, fourth and sixth off Moreno, who allowed just six hits.
Amanda Terry’s bunt single scored Janette Spotswood in the third inning, Santana Brito singled home Jessica Adkins in the fourth and Adkins’ bunt single plated Vicki Huber in the sixth.
Parker walked two and struck out 10. She retired nine in a row in one stretch, then pitched around two sixth-inning errors by the Lady Rams that left runners at second and third with no one out.
“Sasha threw really, really well in the first game,” Crowley said.
Lovington scored a run without benefit of a hit in the first inning of the nightcap and trailed 3-1 before mounting its comeback.
Catcher Melinda Enriquez went 2-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs. Chevelle Sosa, Monica Sanchez, Stephanie Dowell and Salina Deprito also had two hits each for Lovington.
“Chelsea threw great and we played good defense in the first game; we just didn’t hit the ball,” Lovington coach Jeremy Skinner said. “The second game, the pitching was good, the defense was good and we hit the ball.”
Lovington broke open a 6-6 tie with four runs in the top of the sixth, started by a walk to No. 9 hitter Karen Enriquez.
After a wild pitch and a passed ball, Melinda Enriquez delivered her sister with a sacrifice fly. Then, with two out, Dowell blooped a two-run single into shallow center and Moreno followed with an RBI single.
Moreno allowed six hits and struck out four in the second game, retiring 11 of the final 12 hitters after Terry’s RBI triple pulled Portales within 6-5. Terry scored the tying run on a groundout by Rebekah Gonzales.
Moreno also was the beneficiary of several fine plays by her outfielders — Maribel Villa in left, Dowell in center and Sanchez in right.
“They played awesome,” Skinner said. “All three of them have good speed and good range, and they showed it today.”
Terry went 3-for-4 in the nighcap for the Lady Rams, but no one else had more than one hit in either game for Portales.
“I’m not going to take anything away from Lovington,” Crowley said. “They played a great second game. They made some great plays in the outfield, some great catches.”
The result likely means the district’s regular-season title will come down to the teams’ return doubleheader in Lovington on April 27.