By Kevin Wilson
CLOVIS — There’s situational hitting, and then there’s situational hitting.
With the first raindrops of a deluge coming, Clovis High sophomore Mariah Chavez stepped to the batter’s box. She was 0-for-5 when she stepped in, but she didn’t have two outs and teammate A.J. Wright on third base in the bottom of the seventh until then.
“I was just trying to get A.J. home any way I could,” said Chavez, whose single made it a sweet 1-for-6 with a game-winning RBI, a 3-2 win and a split over Portales Saturday at Lady Wildcat Field.
Portales (13-6) had some timely hitting of its own in the opener, as senior shortstop Valerie Villanueva smacked a two-run homer in the seventh inning to give the Lady Rams an 8-6 win.
On a day that doubled as the teams’ Striking Out Cancer fundraiser for Relay for Life, the Saturday twin bill was at times a slugfest and at times a pitchers’ duel between Wright and Portales sophomore Kiersten Ramirez.
Ramirez was dominant when she had to be in the first game, with just four hits allowed and 10 strikeouts, including four of Clovis’ final six outs. She was the hard-luck loser in the second game, allowing a pair of earned runs on six hits.
Both sides were a little dismayed they couldn’t get the sweep, but relieved because each could have easily been swept.
Clovis assistant Freddy Perez, who coached the Lady Cats (8-12) with Brandi Thomas out for personal reasons, was glad the team found a way to win late.
“We bounced back well,” Perez said, “and our situational hitting was a lot better as well.”
Wright, meanwhile, had mixed results trying to scatter runs, with five earned runs on 11 hits in the opener and just one earned run on 11 hits in the nightcap to go with six strikeouts.
It was the latter that bothered Portales coach Robbie Crowley, following a nailbiter game where Portales left 10 runners on base.
“We talked to the kids about that,” Crowley said. “We have to take advantage of those opportunities. A 3-2 loss? I can live with that; we’ll do better, and I’ve always had a defensive-minded philosophy.”
Both teams avoided the big inning throughout the day, with neither team throwing up more than a two-spot in any of the day’s 14 innings.
For the doubleheader, Villanueva went 5-for-7 with a homer, two doubles and three RBIs, while junior third baseman Kailee Ramirez doubled and homered in the opener. For Clovis, Andrea Aguilar finished 2-for-6, including a triple to open the second game, and had a laser throw home in the seventh inning of the opener to keep the Portales lead at two going into the bottom of the inning.
Both teams travel to resume district play Tuesday, with Portales visiting Lovington and Clovis traveling to Carlsbad.