The Portales High softball team has two capable juniors on the hill, and coach Robbie Crowley is hoping to get a lot of mileage out of both this weekend in Las Cruces.
In all likelihood, Crowley said, Amanda Marquez will start for Portales as it faces 10th-seeded Hatch Valley in a 10 a.m. Thursday quarterfinal game at Maag Field in Las Cruces.
But Blaeser will see a lot of innings as well.
“It’s really hard for hitters to adjust when you take out a pitcher like Amanda (once) they’ve kind of got her timing down,” Crowley said. “LeAnn is accurate, she’s going to throw it where you call it, and she has a changeup that’s really tough to adjust to. Amanda throws a little bit harder.”
After the Rams finished 15-11 and suffered a home sweep at the hands to district champion Ruidoso late in the season, Crowley figured Portales would likely be the lower seed in a first-round game, seeded somewhere between eighth and 10th in the 16-team field.
“I was really pleased with the seeding, to be totally honest,” Crowley said. “I wasn’t expecting the seventh seed, but we’ll take it.”
Portales, which lost to Bloomfield 6-0 in last year’s title game, will be playing a 4 p.m. game in the double-elimination tournament against either St. Michael’s or district rival Dexter. The winners bracket game is scheduled at the Field of Dreams, and the losers bracket game is scheduled for Maag Field.