Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

Girls sweep doubleheaders

 

April 17, 2019

Ron Warnick

Teammates celebrate with Melanie Jones, right, after she hit a home run in the first game of a doubleheader Thursday against Estancia. Jones had two more RBI hits during the game, and hit another home run during the nightcap.

The Tucumcari girls softball team swept doubleheaders last week against Estancia and Pecos to improve to 8-1 overall.

On Thursday at Rattler Field, Tucumcari held off Estancia 9-6 in the first game, then prevailed 12-2 in a nightcap shortened to five innings by the mercy rule. The Bears fell to 3-10.

Defense proved to be crucial in the opener, as the Lady Rattlers committed two errors compared to the Bears' six. Three fielding miscues by Estancia, plus RBI hits by Melanie Jones and Jasmine Jones, led to a five-run second inning.

Melanie Jones also hit an RBI double and a solo home run for insurance later in the game and blasted another one over the fence during the second game.

"She's focused, man," Tucumcari coach CJ Oglesby said of Jones' hitting. "She's a senior, and she's really focused in practice. When she puts it all together, it goes."

He said he his team worked more on its hitting after its first loss of the season to Robertson the previous week.

"You can really tell the difference. It was all about hitting in practice," he said. "The defense is always there when we need it and when we're awake."

Tucumcari ace Jayden Jimenez, recovering from the flu earlier in the week, allowed 11 hits and two walks in seven innings. But she got key strikeouts to snuff out potential Bears rallies, including one in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out. Jimenez struck out nine.

"After missing all week, missing school, coming out like that with nothing in her today, she really came through in the first game," Oglesby said.

The Bears scored two in the third on Priscilla Padilla's home run. Lady Rattlers centerfielder Kalani French tried in vain to catch the long fly, but her legs became snared in the fence when she ran into it. Fallen and entangled like a fish in a net, the situation prompted laughter by her and her outfield teammates. It took a minute to free her. French was banged up on the play but stayed in the game.

Tucumcari added two runs in the fourth on RBI doubles by Melanie Jones and Felicity Lopez. The Lady Rattlers added a run in the fifth when Gabriella Grey singled, advanced to second on a walk and scored on an error. Melanie Jones added a homer in the sixth for a 9-2 lead.

Estancia scored four runs in the seventh on an error and three hits – including a two-run homer – and had the tying run on deck with one out. Jimenez struck out the next two batters to end the game.

In the nightcap, eighth-grader Juli Rivera pitched for the Lady Rattlers. She walked six in five innings, but allowed just one hit and struck out six. She also was backed ably by her defense, including a double play in the second.

"I can't say anything better about an eight-grader," Oglesby said, "to come in there with confidence, throw strikes and let the defense go to work."

Tucumcari scored in every inning of the second game. Loren Chavez and Jasmine Jones each had three RBI.

The Lady Rattlers had scored three in the bottom of the fifth and were one away from going home early via the 10-run rule and getting out of the chilly temperatures. Noticing Estancia's right fielder had shifted to right-center because right-handed hitter Jasmine Jones was at the plate, Oglesby called timeout and put a fast-footed courtesy base runner, Arissa Griego, in place of Grey at first. He told Griego to take a big lead off the bag to bait Estancia's catcher into a pickoff throw.

"I told Arissa to get a good jump off first," Oglesby said. "The catcher, she'll throw over there. I told her if the ball got by the first baseman, she'll score."

The pickoff wasn't caught and rolled into the outfield. With the outfielder far out of position to back up the throw, Griego raced all the way around the bases without a play to seal the victory.

On April 9, Tucumcari swept two road games at Pecos by 16-1 and 7-0 scores.

Rivera pitched in place for the ill Jimenez during the opener. She allowed three hits, struck out four and allowed no earned runs in a game shortened to four innings by the 15-run mercy rule.

Tucumcari banged out 15 hits, with Paige Moralez going 4-for-4 with two doubles, a home run and two RBI. The Lady Rattlers led 8-1 after two innings and 13-1 after three.

Oglesby said Pecos was dispirited after being beaten by an eight-grade pitcher and elected to forfeit the second game. Pecos dropped to 1-8 overall.

A home game scheduled for Saturday against Capitan was rained out.

Logan 22-19, Clayton 0-4

The Lady Longhorns swept a road doubleheader Friday at Clayton by 22-0 and 19-4 scores.

Logan (4-6) banged out 17 hits in the first game, with Brook Robertson and Kyndall Ragland each driving in three runs against the winless Yellow Jackets. Elizabeth Brown was the winning pitcher.

The Lady Longhorns drew 10 walks with nine hits in the second game, also shortened by the mercy rule. Harlie Roach had three RBI, and pitchers Brown and Emily LeBlanc combined for the victory.

Logan split a doubleheader April 8 against the Portales junior-varsity squad, winning the opener 19-13 but losing the second game 15-5.

In the opener, Makenna Brewer and AnnMarie Strong each drove in three runs. Pitchers LeBlanc and Ragland combined for the win.

In the loss, Roach had two RBI. Portales had a 14-3 lead after three innings.

 
 

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