Published: 2:58 pm, Sun. Apr. 16th, 2017Updated: 2:56 pm
The Lady Bulldog softball team racked up a combined 30 hits while surrendering just six Friday in a decisive double-header sweep of Goddard, 9-0 and 14-0.
The pair of wins kept Artesia unbeaten in District 4-AAAAA play with four double dips still to go.
“I was very proud of the way they played,” head coach Sandra Pulido said Saturday. “We stayed pretty even keel the first game as far as energy goes, which is something that you worry about when they have the day off school. But they were really hyper and excited to play, which was good to see, and they kept that energy the whole game.”
The Lady ‘Dogs put a pair in scoring position in the top of the second but were unable to bring them home, keeping the scoreboard blank through two complete.
Artesia found its rhythm in the third, however, as back-to-back doubles by Alexa Riggs and Chanler Groves set the table for Kali Crandall, who homered to make it 3-0 Lady Bulldogs.
Pitcher Kacey Thurman led off with a two-bagger in the fourth and crossed on a Nikki Reyes RBI double to put Artesia up 4-0 before they broke the bout open in the fifth.
Crandall led off with a solo shot, and two more runs would score on a Gabrielle Gomez single before Thurman posted her first over-the-fence homer to put the Lady ‘Dogs up 9-0.
“We came out and hit the ball well,” said Pulido. “We hit it right at some people sometimes, but the girls didn’t give up. We asked the girls to hit line drives, and (Thurman’s homer) was a line drive home run; you just knew off the bat that it was going out.”
Artesia put a runner on third to kick off the sixth on a single-turned-error by Crandall, giving them a chance at ending the bout early via the 10-run rule, but 9-0 is where it would stay as Thurman closed out the full seven-inning shutout in the circle.
The junior had three hits, no earned runs, and four strikeouts to her credit on the game.
“Kacey threw a really good game that first game,” said Pulido, “and we played really good defense behind her. We had a lot of ground ball opportunities, and we just did what we had to do to make plays.”
At the plate, Crandall and Riggs finished 3-4, the former with two home runs and four RBI, and the latter with a double. Thurman was 2-4 with a double, a homer, and two runs batted in, and Groves went 2-5 with a double.
The Lady Bulldogs wasted no time getting on the board in the nightcap Friday, with consecutive singles in the top of the first by Riggs, Thurman and Crandall combining to plate one. An error saw a second run around, and Artesia made it 3-0 in the second on a RBI double by Elisa Cardenas.
Cardenas singled in a fourth run in the third, and the Lady ‘Dogs went up 6-0 in the fourth on a Melody Payne double and an error before effectively putting the evening on ice with an eight-run fifth.
A one-out error and a Thurman base hit got that at-bat rolling before Crandall stepped to the plate and gave herself and her teammates a round trip with her third home run of the day.
An Adrianna Baeza single and Aubree Olguin double put runners on for Payne, who doubled both home, then scored on an error, and a Riggs single and an error sent runs No. 13 and 14 across.
The Lady Rockets put a runner on third on a fielder’s choice, a passed ball, and a Jacelyn Reyes base hit but were unable to stave off the run rule, 14-0 after five.
“We did a lot of things right in the second game,” Pulido said. “I was happy to see that we scored every inning. That’s something we talked to them about after the first game – not always trying to rely on someone hitting the ball out.
“Yes, with who we have in our lineup, we will hit some out, but it needs to be the whole team, everyone doing their job, getting runners on, moving them over, and scoring when we have runners in scoring position, and we did that in the second game. That was definitely great to see.”
Crandall finished in the circle with three hits, no runs, and nine strikeouts through five innings of work. At the plate, Cardenas was 2-2 with a double and two RBI, Crandall went 3-4 with a homer and four runs batted in, Thurman was 3-5 with a double, Payne 2-4 with two doubles and three RBI, and Riggs 2-5 with one run batted in.
The Lady Bulldogs (13-4, 4-0) will now prepare to host Lovington at 5 and 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Mack Chase Athletic Complex. Artesia stands atop the district with their unblemished record, while the Lady Wildcats are 4-2, Roswell High 1-3, and Goddard 1-5.
“The game doesn’t change, it’s just the opponent, so we’re just going to keep focusing on what we do best – putting the ball in play, hitting the ball hard, making plays on defense, and pitching well,” said Pulido. “We’re in that part of the year where we’re continuing to grow and continuing to peak, and this is the perfect time for that.
“We have girls coming out of slumps, which is great to see, and other bats are getting hot, and that’s what we need right now coming up on the middle of district and getting ready for state.”