Suffice it to say, the Lovington Lady Wildcats may have gotten Portales' attention the last time the teams met.
Outscored by their District 4-3A rivals 38-7 in the first three meetings this season, Lovington took the once-beaten Lady Rams into extra innings in the second game of an April 20 doubleheader before PHS claimed an 8-7 victory.
They meet again today in one of four 10 a.m. quarterfinal games at Rio Rancho High School in double-elimination Class 3A state softball competition.
Veteran PHS coach Robbie Crowley isn't sure it's a great thing to have to play such a familiar opponent at this stage.
"It's tough to play a team that many times," she said. "Lovington gave us an extra-inning game the last time we played them.
"We just have to be ready to play."
Portales (25-1) has been dominant almost all season, but the Lady Rams have had just enough close calls to keep them focused.
Their only loss came at third-seeded West Las Vegas, a 2-0 decision in the second game of a doubleheader on April 5. That was followed by an 8-6 victory two days later at Clovis in which the Lady Rams needed three runs in the seventh to pull out the win.
They've won three other games by two runs, including a 2-0 win over WLV and a 6-4 victory over Hope Christian, both in PHS' season-opening tournament.
The late-season near-miss could serve to buoy Lovington's confidence.
"They put the ball in play pretty well," Crowley said of the Lady Wildcats (10-15). "If we don't (pitch) the ball on the corners, they will take advantage of us."
Portales, the runnerup last season to Silver, appears to have a good shot at the blue trophy this time. In addition to their 3-1 mark against West Las Vegas and the win over fourth-seeded Hope Christian, the Lady Rams are 3-0 against sixth-seeded Raton.
Silver, the No. 2 seed this year, takes on Shiprock in the opening round.
PHS and Lovington are matched up with Hope and No. 5 Cobre, and will meet the winner or loser of that game at 2 p.m. today. The championship game is set for 8 a.m. on Saturday at the University of New Mexico softball complex, with a second game if necessary to follow at 2 p.m.
Portales (22-6), seeded third in the Class 3A baseball tournament, enters second-round play today in one of four quarterfinal games at noon at Rio Rancho High School.
The Rams take on sixth-seeded Robertson (15-7), which swept Pojoaque 10-2 and 11-0. The winner takes on either Sandia Prep or Hope Christian, who face off in the 2:30 p.m. game following.
On the other side of the bracket, played at Volcano Vista High School, Raton and Cobre play at noon and St. Michael's and Silver face off at 2:30 p.m.
Attempts to contact Portales coach Arturo Ontiveros Wednesday were unsuccessful.