The Portales Rams survived a late challenge from Dexter and got a little bit of help from Lovington to clinch the regular season District 4-3A championship.
Portales (15-8, 13-3 district) jumped out to a 13-2 lead on visiting Dexter after two innings of Friday’s doubleheader opener at Ram Field, and pulled starter Brandon Adkins one inning later to save him in case he was needed for a playoff tiebreaker game against Ruidoso Saturday.
Portales won the opener 16-3. As the Rams held off the Demons 12-7 in the second game, it turned out there would be no tiebreaker as Lovington posted a 12-8, 12-3 sweep over Ruidoso (16-10, 12-4) to give Portales the edge.
“It wasn’t a bad thing that we had a close game and had to work through some adversity,” Portales coach Arturo Ontiverso said. “Hopefully, it helps us down the stretch.”
Adkins was moved to shortstop after throwing 48 pitches in the opener, and went 3-for-3, including a three-run second-inning double that fell inches short of clearing the wall in right center.
Designated hitter Pablo Urioste went 4-for-5 in the doubleheader with six RBIs, four in a eight-run sixth that put the nightcap in Portales’ control.
The Class 3A state tournament will be seeded Sunday afternoon in Albuquerque. The top eight seeds will host the first round, which will be played in a best-of-three series format May 8 (first game) and May 9 (second game and third, if necessary).
First-round winners advance to the state baseball tournament May 13-15, held at sites in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.