PNT Staff Report
After jumping out to a 2-0 start at a Lubbock 10-and-under girls softball tournament last weekend, the Portales Sun Devils finished the tournament 4-2 to take third place.
“We did OK,” head coach Ben Rodriguez said. “We took third. Our girls wanted to go further but that’s an achievement for them. We were playing against the top team in Oklahoma, the top teams in Texas, so we handled ourselves well.”
The Sun Devils played The Sluggers, from Clovis, in their third game and won 11-3.
“Every team had a different pitcher,” Rodriguez said. “So it’s a little tougher for them to hit, but each girl hit in at least one game. They’re hitting was (good), but it could have been better.”
The Portales girls then lost to Team Texas 9-4, before beating the Hobbs Lady Rangers for the second time in the tournament 10-7.
“Once again, we had to knock down Hobbs to get there,” Rodriguez said.
In their final game of the tournament, the Sun Devils lost to the Seminole Angels from Oklahoma 8-2 to finish with third place.
“They had a lot of heart,” Rodriguez said. “They played tough and they had fun. Out of all this stuff, it was something that they all experienced — a first time experience and they walked away satisfied and happy with where they ended up.”
Ashlie Villanueva pitched all six games for the Sun Devils.
“She pitched well,” Rodriguez said. “When the other team hit the ball, that’s where our gloves had to come in, and they did. We had to depend on our gloves a lot.”
Rodriguez also believes the shared experience will make them more competitive in the next several years.
“The coaches that coached them this year, they’re going to see the difference on how competitive they’re going to be the following year,” Rodriguez said. “They’ve learned a lot, and this experience will stay with them.”