ALBUQUERQUE — Second-seeded Silver pushed over the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Hannah Altamirano in the bottom of the seventh inning on Saturday to edge top-seeded Portales 4-3 in the Class 3A state softball championship game at the University of New Mexico softball complex.
The game was a rematch of last year’s final, which Silver won 9-0. It’s the third runnerup finish for the Lady Rams since 2007.
The Lady Colts (22-7) erased a 2-0 deficit with three unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth, the result of three PHS errors, but Portales tied it in the top of the seventh when sophomore catcher Simone Laurenz doubled and her sister, senior pitcher Kelsey Laurenz, delivered a two-out RBI single.
“I’m proud of the kids,” PHS coach Robbie Crowley said. “In the end, (fielding) errors cost us.”
Kelsey Laurenz, who will walk on next year as an outfielder at Eastern New Mexico University, homered for the third time in four games and Sorina Flores scored on a wild pitch to stake the Lady Rams (29-3) to a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth.
“Kelsey and Sorina came through all weekend,” Crowley said. “They really hit the ball well.”
For the second consecutive year, the Lady Rams dropped into the losers bracket with a quarterfinal loss to District 4-3A rival Lovington and then had to win four in a row in the double-elimination format to reach the finals. They won three games on Friday, including a 14-3 drubbing in a rematch with the Lady Wildcats.
They would have had to win twice on Saturday to take the title.
Portales senior Kelsey Laurenz has started every game for Portales in the last two years, including six in three days at the state tournament.
“This team, win or lose, is the best team,” said Kelsey Laurenz, who fought back tears as she held the second-place trophy. “We’re like sisters, and we’ve played together for a long time.”
She said it was tough to finish second for two years in a row.
“We still worked hard for it,” Kelsey Laurenz said. “We went a whole season with just three losses.
“We did a lot of great things this season. As far as I’m concerned, the whole season was a state championship for us.”