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The dirt may be flying but so will the softballs this weekend as the Lady Bulldogs host the 21st Annual Lady ‘Dog Invitational at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex.

A solid field of eight teams is on hand this year, including host Artesia, fellow Class 5A squads Roswell High, Los Lunas, Goddard and Alamogordo, Class 4A Cobre and Robertson, and Class 2A Dexter.

“We have some tough teams this year,” Lady Bulldog head coach Sandra Pulido said this morning. “I think it’s going to be a really good, competitive tournament.”

The Artesia girls will carry a record of 6-3 into their 6 p.m. opening bout today against Alamogordo.

The Lady ‘Dogs defeated the Lady Tigers 8-0 in a March 14 meeting and will be looking for a similar result today.

“We’re looking for the girls to come out ready and to play with enthusiasm the way we have the last two weeks,” said Pulido. “We’ve been working on some things during the week for practice, and we’re ready for them to execute everything we’ve been working on.”

Pulido says she’s been pleased to this point with the progress of her athletes. Artesia kicked off the 2017 season with a seventh-place finish at the 16-team Southern New Mexico Invitational in Las Cruces, then picked up single-game wins over Alamo, Los Lunas and Carlsbad before splitting with Hobbs last Saturday.

“This year, we started meshing a lot quicker than we did last year, which is great to see with the 13 that we have,” Pulido said. “Yes, it’s a small squad, but it’s working perfectly for us.
“Everyone we have on this team is a player we need. They know their role, and all of our wins – and our losses, for that matter – have been a team effort.”

As for what Pulido hopes to see her team take away from this weekend’s competition, “a trophy” tops the list, but continued teamwork, discipline and improvement are a close second.

“To come out with a win, of course, is the best anyone can ask for, but we want to just stay where we are as a team and stay bonded,” said the coach. “We have to take it one game at a time. That’s the only way we’ll be able to make it to state.”

The Lady Bulldogs will also be honoring area veterans and active-duty military this weekend, offering those individuals free admission to their 6 p.m. game today against Alamogordo.

Veterans and service members are asked to arrive early for a brief ceremony in their honor, set to begin between 5:30 and 5:45 p.m., provided today’s games remain on schedule.

“We want to be able to give back to those that serve our community,” said Pulido. “I’d encourage everybody to come out to the Mack Chase and watch some good softball this weekend.”