By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The Portales Rams need to win just one of two games at Ruidoso Friday to win the District 4-3A championship, after sweeping Dexter Tuesday at home 9-0 and 10-9.
The Lovington Wildcats fell two games behind the Rams splitting at the New Mexico Military Institute Tuesday night.
“We’ve put ourselves in good shape in district, now we just have to take care of business against Ruidoso,” Ram head coach Arturo Ontiveros said.
The Rams used big hitting and dominating pitching to beat the Demons in the first game, as senior pitcher Mario Salazar allowed just one hit, striking out 11 batters, while sophomore Brandon Adkins and senior Todd McBroom led the bat attack. Adkins and McBroom both went 4-for-4 from the plate, as Adkins brought in two runs and McBroom batted home one run.
The home team posted two runs in the first inning, before scoring one run in the third. The Rams two-run fourth inning was followed by a monster four-run fifth inning to take a commanding 9-0 lead.
“We played well, especially in the first game,” junior catcher Ricky Lovato said. “We pitched well and we hit well.”
The night-cap was front heavy with 14 of the 19 total runs scored in the first two innings.
Portales took a first inning 6-0 lead as senior Kevin Gonzales, Lovato and senior pitcher Phillip Danbom hit run-scoring doubles before sophomore Joe Sandoval swatted an RBI triple.
But the Demons had a big inning of their own, scoring six runs in the top of the second to tie the game 6-6.
In the bottom of the second, Portales senior Todd McBroom brought home eighth-grader Jordan Hill with a sacrifice pop fly, followed by a Dexter fielder’s choice, and the Rams had an 8-6 lead.
The Rams scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth, before Dexter rallied for two runs in the seventh, but Portales held on for the win.
“We just have to stay focussed throughout the entire game,” Ontiveros said. “We had a six run lead and let them chip back into it.”
Portales (16-7, 11-3) travels to Ruidoso Friday night for their district finale, one win away from wrapping up the district title.