If nothing else, the Portales Rams showed on Saturday that they’re resilient — with noticeably different results.
Trailing 5-0, the Rams scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth to beat West Las Vegas 8-6 in the first game of what amounted to a triangular. After the Dons absorbed a 17-4 shellacking at the hands of defending Class 2A state champion Eunice, the Rams pulled close with another eight-run rally against the Cardinals before going down to a 19-9 loss.
“We were pretty shorthanded (in the pitching department),” Rams coach Arturo Ontiveros said after his team played its third game in less than 24 hours. “We threw (junior pitcher Stephen) Sampson in there without a lot of experience (in the loss to Eunice).”
Portales (4-6), which beat West Las Vegas 11-2 on Friday night, spotted the Dons a five-run cushion. Dons pitcher Nicholas Aragon carried a shutout into the bottom of the fifth, but the Rams erupted to take the lead behind a game-tying, three-run homer by junior Brandon Lovato and a go-ahead RBI double by junior A.J. Marquez.
Junior right-hander David Rodriguez made it standing up, pitching a complete-game five-hitter with one walk and nine strikeouts.
Eunice then opened a 10-0 advantage before the Rams struck for eight in the bottom of the third, highlighted by a two-run homer from Marquez. But the Cardinals (6-0) responded with a six-run fourth, then ended the game in five on the 10-run rule after scoring three more in the top of the fifth.
Junior shortstop Tyler Almager led a 17-hit Cardinals attack, going 4-for-4 from the leadoff position with two doubles, four runs scored and five RBIs. He was also hit by a pitch.
Portales returns to action on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. game at Texico, preceded by a junior varsity matchup at 4 p.m.