By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
Artesia scored four unanswered runs and spoiled Portales’ state tournament tune-up Monday evening at Portales 4-2.
The Portales girls posted an early 2-0 lead before a collection of Portales errors and Artesia hits swung the balance to the Lady Bulldogs.
Portales assistant coach Scott Parker says he likes playing a good 4A team heading into the state tournament.
“The crowd that we had out here and the announcing and everything that we were doing was kind of a state atmosphere,” the coach said. “I think it was good that we had that before we go up there. We played two years ago up there and we were scared to death.”
The Lady Rams drew an early advantage as catcher Jessica Adkins brought in fellow senior Amanda Terry in the bottom of the first inning with a hit to give Portales a 1-0 lead. That lead grew by one in the third inning, as an Artesia throwing error allowed senior outfielder Courtney Correll to come home and Portales led 2-0.
Artesia began their comeback in the top of the fourth inning, as pitcher Rani Faulkenberry connected to right field and scored Morgan Sanders. The Lady Bulldogs scored again, as Portales left fielder Vicki Huber couldn’t hold onto a line drive hit by Artesia’s Marlee Aranda, and the Lady Bulldogs tied the score at 2-2.
The visitors took their first lead of the game in the top of the sixth inning, as Adkins misfired to first base on a pick-off attempt, then Artesia’s Arissa Florez got a hit through the infield to score Aranda to lead 3-2, before adding another run later in the inning.
Senior pitchers Sasha Parker and Shareesa Nusser both played, and according to both Parkers, pitched well.
“I thought both pitchers did a good job,” Scott Parker said. “We just have to keep battling and make something happen on our side.”
“I think we did really good competing against a good 4A team,” Sasha Parker said. “We gave it our all and we did make some mistakes but one thing about us is we don’t get down on ourselves.”
The Lady Rams finished the regular season with a 17-8 record including an undefeated 12-0 District 4-3A championship run.
“I think a break here and there, a catch here and there and we were right in the ball game with a good 4A team,” Scott Parker said. “They won their district and according to their coach, if we play this way at state we should be able to do something this year.”
The New Mexico Activities Association will seed all teams in the state tournament Sunday, before the competition begins May 10.