Serving the High Plains

Lady Dons oust Lady Rattlers from 3A playoffs

RIO RANCHO — West Las Vegas made the Tucumcari softball team’s postseason a short one during the Lady Ratters’ 15-0 loss on Wednesday.

The ninth-seeded Lady Rattlers faced the eighth-seeded Lady Dons in a single-elimination play-in game at Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho as part of the Class 3A playoffs.

West Las Vegas scored early and often, tallying four runs each in the first and second innings and seven in the third to end the game via the mercy rule.

“We just didn’t start off hitting,” Tucumcari coach CJ Oglesby said. “Against good teams, you gotta score, and score often.”

Oglesby said fielding errors also hurt his team during the game.

Ali Otero did much of the damage for the Lady Dons, hitting a two-run double in the opening inning and blasting a two-run homer over the left-center field fence in the second.

Tucumcari starting pitcher Juli Rivera took the loss, allowing seven hits, three walks and three earned runs in two innings. Harley McKinney pitched the final two-thirds of an inning in relief, allowing five earned runs.

The Lady Rattlers had no hits against Lady Dons starting pitcher Annabelle Ulibarri, who struck out four and walked one.

Tucumcari’s best chance to score was in the first inning when leadoff hitter Alexus Lafferty walked and advanced to second and third on a sacrifice fly and a groundout respectively. She was caught in a rundown between third base and home for the final out of the inning.

West Las Vegas lost its next game 12-2 to top-seeded Santa Fe Indian but stayed alive in the double-elimination tournament with a 6-5 victory over Navajo Prep late Wednesday.

The Lady Dons notched a 12-8 victory over Dexter on Thursday before being eliminated by fourth-seeded Cobre 12-2 later that day.

Second-seeded Robertson defeated Santa Fe Indian 8-4 in the final on Thursday.

Tucumcari ended its season with a 10-14 record. The Lady Rattlers struggled during the latter half of the season, including a 1-8 record in district play.

Tucumcari loses three seniors from this year’s squad — Rivera, Lafferty and first baseman Sierra Valverde, who was at least partly sidelined the last four games of the season with a nagging knee injury.

“We are going to lose three good starting players that took us as far as we could,” Oglesby said. “A lot of shoes to fill.”