By Kevin Wilson
Portales sophomore Kiersten Ramirez was still a little disgusted she missed her first chance to close out a doubleheader sweep over Hope Christian.
She didn’t waste her second.
Ramirez slapped the 521st pitch of the day to first base, where it snuck under the glove of Emma Sierra to score Simone Laurenz for a 10-9, eight-inning victory Saturday at Wheeler Park.
The host Lady Rams (9-4) claimed the opener 3-2, scoring three times in the final two innings.
Portales’ two-run eighth in the nightcap offset Hope Christian junior Faith Romero delivering softball’s version of the royal flush — a two-out grand slam, on an 0-2 pitch, to erase an 8-4 deficit.
While Ramirez knew the left-field shot was gone when she saw it come off Romero’s bat — “I knew she’d hit it out, it was solid,” she said — it was still hard for the Huskies to believe.
“No way,” Hope coach Ron Romero said. “I was thinking double and maybe we could get two runs at a time. Grand slam? We’ll take that.”
The grand slam made the sweep a little more palatable for the Huskies (6-11), who got a learning experience, a storybook rally and even a souvenir. Even through the frustration of losing a lead so quickly, Portales coach Robbie Crowley made sure the home run ball was retrieved and given to Romero.
An inning later, her frustration was knocked away by Ramirez’ bat.
“I was just looking for anything, really,” Ramirez said. “We had no outs, so base hit or fly ball, we’d be able to score.”
Despite the disparity in offense for each game, they were no doubt filled with duels as countless foul cuts led to eight-, nine- and 10-pitch at-bats and the game had numerous delays because players simply fouled off all of the game balls.
Ramirez threw all 266 pitches for Portales in the doubleheader, allowing 11 runs (seven earned) on 10 hits with 16 strikeouts and 10 walks.
Hope Christian split pitching duties between junior Sofia Davis Olague and sophomore Marguertie Chaevez. Olague allowed three runs on six hits in the complete-game opener but was victimized by five runs in three innings of the nightcap. She struck out 10 and walked four.
After tying the opener with two in the eighth, No. 9 hitter Devyn Alvarado led off the ninth for Portales. Crowley told her to just get on base and her teammates would get her home.
Alvarado ended up doing most of the work, tripling to right on a 2-0 pitch. She trotted home four pitches later when Laurenz hit a bloop single to right.
“I’m proud of the girls, and the way they took both games,” Crowley said. “You’d rather have those games than two 15-0 games because you don’t learn anything from those kind of games.”
Portales hosts Ruidoso Tuesday to open District 4-3A play. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Portales 3, Hope Christian 2
Hope Christian 000 200 0 — 2 3 3
Portales 000 002 1 — 3 6 0
Sofia Davis Olague and Kayla Simmons. Kiersten Ramirez and Simone Laurenz. Top hitters — Hope Christian, Simmons 1-2, 2B, RBI; Faith Romero 1-3, 2B. Portales, Laurenz 2-4, RBI; Francis Armijo 1-2, R; Kailee Ramirez 1-3, 2B, RBI; Devyn Alvarado 1-3, 3B, R.
Portales 10, Hope Christian 9, 8 innings
Hope Christian 102 001 41 — 9 7 6
Portales 304 100 02 — 10 13 2
Marguerite Chavez, Sofia Davis Olague (2), Chavez (5) and Kayla Simmons. Kiersten Ramirez and Simone Laurenz. Top hitters — Hope Christian, Faith Romero, 1-4, HR, BB, 4 RBI; Olague 1-3, 2 BB, RBI; Simmons 2-4. Portales, Mariah Lovato 2-4, 2 RBI, R; Francis Armijo 2-5, 2 2B, 2 R; Ramirez 3-5, 2 R. Records — Hope Christian 6-11, Portales 9-4.