The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Peter Stein
Staff writer 

Lady Rams win home opener


April 7, 2019

Jamie Cushman

Portales second baseman Nicole Laurenz slides in for a run while Clovis catcher Paige Noack attempts to corral the ball during the second inning of the Rams' 6-2 home win on Thursday.

PORTALES - After playing on the road for so long, most recently losing four straight games to end last weekend's Kristen Griego Tournament, Thursday night brought two bits of good news for Portales' softball team.

1) The Lady Rams finally played their first home game by hosting Clovis. 2) Portales beat the Lady Wildcats, 6-2, to end that four-game losing streak.

"We played well," Portales head coach Nathan Dodge said. "Changed some things up and it seemed to work in our favor."

"I knew we would be ready to play, just go out there and win," Lady Rams junior pitcher Wendy Baeza said after making her 10th straight start to open the season.

Good to win. Good to do it in Portales.

"It's nice to finally be at home," Dodge said. "The good thing is, whenever you play (your home opener) this late, your field looks good and the grass is green and everything is pretty good. It's nice to play at home, be here at home. We've been road warriors the last few weeks."

"It felt good (playing at home)," Baeza said. "It feels more comfortable than playing at other fields."

For the Lady 'Cats, the errors that had been plaguing them recently took a temporary holiday. And after surrendering five runs in the second inning, they outscored Portales 2-1 the rest of the way.

"So that's getting better," Clovis head coach Emery Sierra said. "We put the ball in play a lot better. So it's getting better, it's a learning experience for sure. As long as we keep growing."

Sierra then looked at the scoreboard.

"That looks a lot better than it did the first time we played them," he said, referring to the game in Clovis two weeks prior, which was Portales won by nine. "They beat us 11-2 the first time; they beat us by four tonight."

Thursday's game was scoreless until the bottom of the second inning. With one out, Adri Garcia singled, followed by a Mia Molina double to left center that put runners on second and third.

Baeza then singled both runners home to make it a 2-0 game.

"It was outside high," Baeza said of the offering from Clovis starter Kassadie Tindle (2-1).

Nicole Laurenz then reached on an error after trying to bunt her way aboard, as pinch runner Jade Gallegos went to third base. With Teagan Faust batting, Laurenz stole second, before Faust came up with an infield single that scored Gallegos to make it 3-0.

Laurenz, meanwhile, slid safely into third base, which was significant when Micaela Garcia then hit a sacrifice fly for Portales' fourth run.

Jeuliece Chavez followed by dropping an RBI single into right-center, scoring Faust to make it 5-0.

Clovis did get two back quickly, doing so with two outs in the top of the third. With one out, Marina Sena walked but was forced out at second when Paige Noack hit into a fielder's choice. Noack reached first base safely singled and was replaced by pinch runner Audrey Gallagher, who went to third when Divina Lopez doubled.

Gallagher came home on a wild pitch and Lopez was knocked in when Daisy Dodge singled, drawing Clovis within 5-2.

The score remained the same until Laurenz clobbered a one-out solo homer to left in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Portales soon went on for the victory. In what has been an up-and-down season so far, the Lady Rams turned in a solid performance for the home crowd Thursday night.

"Today was more of the up," Dodge said. "Hopefully we keep the momentum going and stay up from here."

Black Friday

Clovis moved on from Thursday's loss, returned home Friday and ran into a brick wall.

A wall, that is, in the form of Seminole. The Texas team beat Clovis 8-0 at the Wildcat Softball Complex.

Back came the errors, as the Lady Wildcats committed seven, helping lead to their lopsided defeat.

"That and just not getting runs across," Sierra said. "We get on the bases and can't score. We've got to figure out how to score and limit the errors."

Eighth-grade Clovis pitcher Kohanna Pousson had a mixed start. Though she did surrender 12 hits, she also struck out seven and walked none.

The Lady 'Cats (5-7) are off until Apr. 16, when they begin their District 4-5A schedule with a home doubleheader against Carlsbad. That gives them 11 days to prepare.

"Just regroup, get together and get to work," Sierra said. "We've got to work to get better because it's going to be a tough district."


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