By Mickey Winfield: PNT staff writer
LAS VEGAS, N.M. — Portales unleashed the pent up energy of four canceled games due to weather last week and produced 35 hits Monday afternoon, clobbering the Las Vegas Robertson Cardinals in a two-game sweep, 18-3 and 16-9.
“We hit the ball pretty well today,” Portales head coach Arturo Ontiveros understated. “We scored pretty well.”
The Rams (4-2) took control early in the first game, posting four runs in the first inning highlighted by Todd McBroom, Phillip Danbom and Austin McMullen all bringing runs home.
Senior pitcher Mario Salazar did his part from the mound, confounding Robertson hitters and throwing a no-hitter through five innings.
“I felt good,” Salazar said. “I knew what I had to get done. My fastball was working real well. I felt like I was in control and I felt like I was frustrating their hitters.”
“(Mario) was in a zone,” Ontiveros said. “Minus the first two innings, he had control of all of his pitches and were throwing them for strikes.”
The Cards scored their three runs in the last two innings.
“We made some errors in the field that cost us those runs,” Ontiveros said. “It wasn’t so much (Mario) that let up, I just think we should have played better defense behind him.”
Salazar’s pitching gem complemented a Ram offensive explosion in the opener, collecting 25 hits against the younger Cardinals.
“They were fairly young,” Ontiveros said. “We’re young too, but it looked like they didn’t have anybody who was overpowering. These guys are in our class, in 3A, and we met up with them in regionals last year.”
The Ram batters continued their assault on the opposing pitchers compiling 13 hits in the second game but the Portales offense was a bit more deliberate in the nightcap scoring three runs in the first four innings before exploding for 10 runs in the fifth stanza. Salazar put his blessings on the inning with a two-run blast to lead the Rams to a 16-9 victory.
Senior pitcher Phillip Danbom pitched six and two thirds innings in the second game, striking out five before allowing sophomore Brandon Adkins the save in the seventh.
The Rams begin District 4-3A action Saturday at Ruidoso (11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)