On paper, this is exactly what a 2-15 matchup normally looks like in prep softball. The Portales Rams just hope to live up to that matchup.
The second-seeded Rams begin their state title hopes today at 1 p.m. against Hot Springs in a matchup that looks pretty favorable for Portales:
• Portales (19-6) has won seven of its last eight to close out the regular season, while the 15th-seeded Tigers are 7-19 on the season.
• Hot Springs does have Portales beat in 20-run outbursts, hitting that number twice compared to once for Portales. But the Tigers have given up 20 runs seven times, compared to none for the Rams.
• Portales has only been run-ruled once this season, compared to nine for Hot Springs. As far as winning by the run rule, the advantage is 14-4 for Portales.
And that — statistics gleaned from a look on the Tigers’ Maxpreps.com schedule page — is all Portales has really learned about Hot Springs since the matchup was announced earlier this week.
“I don’t know a whole lot about them, I just know we have to play,” Portales coach Robbie Crowley said. “Regardless, we have to play our best.”
Today’s winner will move on to the eight-team, double-elimination tournament held at Cleveland High School, and open 9 a.m. Thursday against either Lovington or Pojoaque. Saturday’s championship will be played at the University of New Mexico.
Although most teams have had plenty of rest, Portales probably trumps most of 3A. The game against Hot Springs will be only Portales’ third in the last 15 days. The last two were run-ruled wins over Ruidoso to finish a perfect run through District 4-3A following a week off.
“I was worried about it against Ruidoso because we had a week off, but we seemed to respond really well to it,” Crowley said. “It’s good for us, but I know it can cause rust and practice gets a little bit long.”