With four games left in their district regular season, the Portales Rams put themselves in position to battle for the district championship with a sweep of the New Mexico Military Institute Colts Saturday at Portales High School 4-0 and 6-3.
“(These wins) put us in a good situation for the rest of the way,” Ram head coach Arturo Ontiveros said.
While the offense struggled, senior pitcher Mario Salazar carried the Rams on his right arm in the first game, throwing a complete game two-hit shutout, striking out 10.
“If we provide him with runs, he’s going to keep us in the game and we’re going to come out on top,” Ontiveros said.
While Mario was super — the Ram offense did just enough to win, collecting three hits, but scoring three runs in the third inning.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well as we would have liked to, but we did enough to win the game,” Ontiveros said. “There were some situations where we had to bunt some people over and do some different things and that’s part of baseball too.”
Senior pitcher Phillip Danbom threw in the second game, allowing three runs on six hits and striking out four.
Portales grabbed an early 3-0 lead before the Colts exploded for a three-run fifth inning sparked by a two-run bunt from senior pitcher Matthew Smokov. But the Rams quickly got a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth as sophomore Logan Erf scored freshman Shawn Carrasco with an infield hit.
The Rams padded their lead in the sixth with two more runs, taking the second game 6-3 moving into a district first place tie with Lovington.
“We came through and we got the job done,” Danbom said. “We’re in a very good position now to win district.”
Portales (12-7, 9-3) hosts Dexter Tuesday before closing out their regular season at Ruidoso Friday or Saturday, with a possible district championship game against Lovington ahead.