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Lady Cardinals out to 6-2 start

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Robertson softball’s 10-0 rout of McCurdy on Tuesday pumped up the Lady Cardinals’ record to a healthy 6-2, but head coach Adrian Jaramillo didn’t quite give his team an “A” grade.

“We didn’t hit the ball quite as well as we have been,” he said, “but we hit it well enough. We controlled the tempo pretty good.”

The Lady Cards put the game away in the bottom of the sixth inning. Three pitchers — Elena Garcia, Samantha Montaño and Myranda Aragon — got work in on the mound.

The team’s start has been strong, particularly given the turnover from last season, but the schedule figures to get tougher in a hurry. The squad will join West Las Vegas in the Portales tournament this weekend. Powers like Portales and Cobre will be there. And then the District 2-3A schedule is right around the corner, beginning with a matchup against West on April 5.

“It’s a battle from here on out,” Jaramillo said.

Jaramillo continues to tinker with his lineups, both defensively and in batting order, but there is a method to the madness. He said it’s all about getting the girls more versatile in learning different spots, not to mention giving them chances to step up.

“They’re reacting pretty well to it,” he said. “They’re starting to develop more of a sense of the game.”

While the defense — which has lost a few key anchors over the last couple seasons — is still prone to a few miscues, as was the case vs. St. Mike’s, progress is being made.

“They’re working real well with each other ... (As they get more time in), the hope is these errors will start cleaning themselves up.”

Robertson’s strength is its offense, which has been led by Amber Yara, Alicia Jaramillo and Samantha Montaño.

Yara is hitting over .600 and is “probably our top hitter,” the coach said.

“Alicia is our sacrificer,” he said. “She’s always moving girls over, and she gets runs in.”

“Samantha’s been pounding the ball pretty good,” he added. “The big thing this year is that our sticks are alive, and those three have been our most consistent.”

Getting off to a good start has been a boost in the dugout. “It’s helped our team unity quite a bit,” Jaramillo said. “Last year we didn’t have that unity. We have a more unified focus. It’s a vital part of winning.”

Other than first two spots in the order, there’s been plenty of changes.

“Some are more comfortable in 6 or 7 spot than 3 or 4,” he noted.

The pitching is beginning to shore up as well.

“Elena’s come around a lot — a lot better control,” he said, although she is still hampered by a back injury sustained in a vehicle accident last year.

Montaño is “still young and learning but she brings a lot of quick to her pitch, and she’s dependable.”

Aragon, he said, “has come a long way getting back to where she ended last year. She was probably our most consistent pitcher last year.