Published: 9:35 pm, Wed. Apr. 12th, 2017Updated: 9:33 pm
The Lady Bulldog softball team took their fans on a bit of a thrill ride Tuesday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex, but when the dust had cleared, the girls in orange had logged a big District 4-AAAAA sweep of rival Roswell High.
The squad took it down to the wire in the opener, edging the Lady Coyotes 6-5 in eight innings, but posted a polar opposite result in the nightcap, run-ruling Roswell 13-1 in five.
The Lady ‘Dogs fell behind the Coyotes early in Tuesday’s opener, as a two-run homer by Mckinze Tarin gave Roswell the lead in the second inning.
Adrianna Baeza would answer in kind for Artesia in the bottom of the fourth to tie things up, but a Sheyanna Sandoval double, a Mikenzey Patterson single, and a walk loaded the bases for the Lady Coyotes in the top of five, and another base on balls returned their lead, 3-2.
The Lady Bulldogs left one standing in the home half but would reinstate the deadlock in the sixth on a solo shot over the left-field fence by Kali Crandall. Artesia had a chance to end it in regulation in the seventh when catcher Melody Payne singled to lead off and advanced to second on a Gabrielle Gomez base hit, but a pop-up behind the plate and two strikeouts ended the threat and sent the bout into extra innings.
There, with a runner starting on second base according to the International Tie-Breaker, Roswell wasted no time drawing first blood, as leadoff Nayelli Morales blasted a home run to make it 5-3. Artesia was able to prevent further damage, however, and headed to the plate in the bottom of the eighth with a score to settle.
Pitcher Kacey Thurman beat out a bunt to put runners at the corners for Crandall, who proceeded to swat a ground-rule double to tie the game for the third time on the day, 5-5. Crandall advanced to third on a ground out, bringing up Baeza, who lofted a liner into left for the walk-off, 6-5.
Thurman finished with nine hits, five earned runs, six strikeouts, and three walks to her credit through eight complete innings of work, while Payne was 2-3 at the plate, Gomez 1-2, and Crandall and Baeza both 2-4, the former with a double, a homer and three RBI, and the latter with a home run and three runs batted in.
While the dramatic finish made for good viewing between the Class 5A No. 2 Lady Bulldogs and No. 5 Lady Coyotes, Artesia elected to dispense with the tension in the nightcap.
The Lady ‘Dogs charged out to a 6-0 in the first inning, batting around and putting the girls in red in a visible funk. Artesia continued to take advantage from there, scoring four more in the second, two in the third, and one in the fourth on their way to a 13-1, five-inning run rule.
Back-to-back walks by Alexa Riggs and Chanler Groves got things started in the bottom of one for Artesia. A throwing error on a pickoff attempt at third plated Riggs, and another errant throw saw Groves home.
Spotted a pair by the Lady Coyotes, the Lady Bulldogs’ bats began to warm up in the latter part of the lineup, as Gomez sent a RBI single to center and, following an error, No. 9 batter Nikki Reyes belted a two-RBI triple to right to make it 6-0.
A leadoff triple by Groves in the second put one on for Crandall, who launched a home run to right to bump Artesia’s lead to 8-0, and a two RBI single to left-center by Gracie Puentes gave the Lady ‘Dogs the necessary run-rule margin, 10-0.
The girls in orange tacked on what turned out to be an important pair of insurance runs in the third on Crandall’s third homer of the day and a back-to-back bomb by Aubree Olguin.
Roswell logged its lone run in the top of the fourth on an error, and Artesia proceeded to close out their Game-Two victory in style, as Puentes joined the pound party with a solo drive over the fence in left to mark the Lady Bulldogs’ whopping sixth homer of the series.
Crandall was 3-3 on the game with her two home runs and three RBI, Puentes went 2-3 with a homer and three runs batted in, and Groves, Olguin, Baeza and Reyes were all 1-2 with a homer, two triples, a double, and three RBI between them.
Crandall also logged the win in the circle for Artesia, giving up seven hits, no earned runs and no walks, and striking out seven in her five innings.
The pair of wins place the Lady ‘Dogs at 11-4 on the year, 2-0 in district play. They currently stand behind Lovington (4-2), which has gone 3-1 with Goddard and 1-1 with Roswell thus far in their further-along D4 slate.
Artesia will travel to Roswell Friday for a 5 and 7 p.m. double header against the Lady Rockets (7-10, 1-3), while Roswell (10-8, 1-3) will face Goddard April 18.