Freedom New Mexico
The Portales Rams stumbled early on Saturday, but came back to claim the District 4-3A baseball championship at Ram Field.
Lovington handed the Rams a 13-6 loss in the first game of a triangular, then beat Ruidoso 6-2 to improve to 5-5 in district play. The Rams, who came into the day 5-3, secured the title with a 13-3 rout of Ruidoso in the finale.
Stephen Sampson pitched Portales (15-11, 6-4 district) to the victory over the Warriors (10-16, 4-6), throwing a six-inning complete game five-hitter. The Rams broke a 3-3 tie on catcher Dustin Caroland’s fourth-inning sacrifice fly, then added three in the fifth and six in the sixth to end it on the 10-run rule.
Rams coach Arturo Ontiveros said Sampson has a knack for getting hitters out.
“We call him ‘Human Rain Delay’ on the mound because he works really slow,” Ontiveros said. “But he gets people out and he gives us a chance every time he’s out there.”
Caroland added a two-run single in the sixth for Portales, while A.J. Marquez drove in three runs — two with a fifth-inning homer — and scored three.
Lovington (12-15 overall) broke a 1-1 tie against the Rams with a six-run third and never looked back. Kyle Bangert wen 3-for-4 for the Wildcats with two doubles, three RBIs, three runs scored and a walk while Gabriel Vejar tossed a complete-game five-hitter.
Caroland also drove in three runs in that game with a two-run single and a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded.
The Rams will find out their seeding today in a meeting in Albuquerque. Ontiveros said he’s confident Portales will get a top-eight seed and host a first-round best-of-three series next weekend.
The first game of the series will be on Friday, while the second and, if necessary, third would be played on Saturday.