The Portales Rams have a solid pitching staff led by junior David Rodriguez
Hitting? Check. Junior first baseman Ryan Schmidt paces a Rams’ offense that averages more than eight runs a game.
Fielding? Well, two out of three ain’t bad, right coach?
“The big thing is making the routine plays,” Portales coach Arturo Ontiveros said. “That’s definitely been our nemesis this year,.
“I’d say we’ve more errors this year than we have the last two years combined. I can’t explain it. We just give teams extra outs.”
If that pattern continues the Rams won’t likely last much longer in the Class 3A state playoffs.
The sixth-seeded Rams (17-11) take on No. 3 Hope Christian (21-6) at 11 a.m. today in a state quarterfinal matchup in Albuquerque.
Ontiveros said members of his coaching staff scouted Hope Christian last week in the first round of the playoffs.
“They hit the ball well. They make the routine plays. They’re not going to beat themselves,” Ontiveros said.
Scot MacKay, a senior left-hander with a sweeping curveball, figures to start for the District 5-3A runnerup Huskies.
The District 4-3A champion Rams will counter with junior David Rodriguez (6-2).
Ontiveros said the key for the Rams will be their approach at the plate.
“We can’t go up there just swinging at first pitches,” he said. “We have to try and make the pitcher work more and go deeper in the count.”
Schmidt is hitting .411 this season with four home runs and 32 RBI. Junior AJ Marquez is hitting .387.
The Rams swept Shiprock 12-1 and 11-1 in a best of three first-round series last weekend.
“We would have like a little bit more of a challenge,” Ontiveros said. “But after getting eliminated (by Raton) in the first round the last two years I guess it’s OK.”