Lady Dons’ strong start not enough

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By Dave Kavanaugh

Big hits. Solid pitching. Stingy defense.  

West Las Vegas’ softball team seemingly had all the ingredients for an important win Tuesday at Pojoaque Valley.

For a while, all those ingredients came together.

Then, one by one, they dissipated — and the host Elkettes pulled out a 9-8 win to finish a 9-2 rally over the last two and a half innings.

Elena Armijo and Amanda Garcia each homered twice and Larrissa Gallegos added a long ball of her own to lead the Lady Dons to a 6-0 advantage through four and a half frames. Meanwhile, WLV starter Marrisa Cordova and the Lady Don defense held firm against Pojoaque, a team known for quickness and efficiency around the basepaths.

But coach Ricky DeHerrera Jr.’s Elkettes scored seven straight runs and eventually took the lead for good in their final at-bats.

Coach Lucas Griego’s West girls are 0-2; Pojo is 2-0.

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Robertson’s softball team improved to 2-3 overall by splitting with host Santa Fe Indian School on Tuesday.

The Lady Cardinals, coached by Adrian Jaramillo, won 9-3 and led late before falling 14-13 in the second game.

RHS visits Española on Tuesday.

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Dean Gallegos liked what he saw from his West Las Vegas Dons in Tuesday’s first game with Pojoaque Valley.

The second game wasn’t nearly as satisfying.

West (4-2) piled up 18 hits — each Don collected at least one — in a 12-2 win in game one.

Corey Archibeque smacked two home runs and drove in five runs, and Pancho Caro went 3 for 3 with a homer. Stephen Montaño was 3 of 4 with two doubles, Alex Branch and T.J. Esquibel were both 2 for 3, and Nicholas Aragon hit 2 of 4 with a double and two RBI.

Aragon pitched the full five innings needed to lock down the Elks.

He struck out seven and held them to three hits and two earned runs.

In game two, the Dons offense got a lot quieter, mustering just five hits in a 4-3 loss.

Mike Martinez led West with two hits in two at-bats;  Aragon, Archibeque and Esquibel added one hit apiece.

“We did not execute (well) on the hit and run, and the hit and run is a big part of our game,” said Gallegos.

Pitching was a mainstay for the Dons, however. Jake Ulibarri fanned three and held the Elks to two hits over two and a third innings; reliever Marty Blea held them to two hits, and Montaño struck out three and allowed just a hit in his inning on the mound.

“If we put the bat on the ball, we’re going to be hard to beat,” Gallegos said. “All day, we gave up eight hits (combined), so our pitching is coming around.”

• • •

Justin Kaid had just one hit Tuesday for the Highlands Cowboys (8-8) at Eastern New Mexico in Portales, but he made that one count.

Kaid’s single down the left-field line in the top of the eighth allowed Erik Scott and Eric Maupin to score the go-ahead runs in a 3-1 verdict.

Reliever Richard Sandoval picked up the win after a strong start by Edgar Vela (six strikeouts and two hits allowed in nearly six full innings).

Scott and Luis Saenz both hit doubles for the Cowboys; they, Maupin and Thomas King had two hits each as NMHU outslugged the Greyhounds 10-3.