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Speed keeps RHS in the playoff hunt

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In this file photo, Roswell’s Mikenzie Patterson slides safely into home against Goddard. On Wednesday, Roswell kept their playoff hopes alive by beating Clovis in a doubleheader, 4-0 and 3-2. (David Rocha Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

Roswell girls softball team started out strong at 10-3 before district play began and they were reeling after losing a couple of games they wished they could get back in district play — both of the games to Hobbs in the district opener.

Veteran coach Art Sandoval is looking forward and hoping to go five hundred the rest of the way. On Wednesday night, Roswell earned a hard-fought doubleheader victory over rival Clovis, 4-0 and 3-2 in dramatic fashion at Coyote Softball Field to get their first two wins in the district.

After going through the first round of district, Sandoval is hoping that his young team has the confidence they can play with the big teams and win. Sandoval would be happy sweeping Hobbs and Clovis and splitting with Carlsbad.

Roswell came into the game as the No. 15 team in District 4-5A, with the top 16 teams making the playoffs.

In the first game of the doubleheader, freshman pitcher Torie Sandoval was throwing heat. Torie Sandoval made fast work of the Lady Wildcats as she set them up and down in order, giving up one hit while striking out seven and walking one on 83 pitches.

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Roswell scored the games first run in the first inning when the error-plagued Clovis team made key errors. Roswell’s Karissa Mesquita hit a pop up to the first baseman and she dropped it. Team captain MiKenzie Patterson popped up to the second baseman and she dropped up as Roswell had runners on first and second base. McKinze Tarin hit a hot grounder to second base as Mesquita scored on a fielder’s choice to give the Lady Coyotes a 1-0 lead.

In the second inning, Roswell’s Cayla Chavez hit the ball to shortstop and used her speed to beat the ball out. Raquel Gonzalez came up and singled to right field scoring Chavez to give the Lady Coyotes a 2-0. Roswell would score two more runs in the fourth inning to put the game away.

Second game

In the second game of the twin-bill, it was a nail biter until the end. Roswell’s Tarin was locked into a pitching duel with Kassadie Tindle, neither pitcher blinked for the first four innings of the game. In the fourth, Tarin gave up a hit to Bryana Gallagher just out of reach of the second baseman’s grasp. Clovis advanced the runner on a fielder’s choice. The next hitter up, Kohana Pausson, doubled to left field scoring Gallagher to give Clovis a 1-0 lead.

Roswell could do nothing with Tindle, she continually got them to hit the ball back to her or to the infield for easy outs. Roswell was down to their final out in the sixth inning when they mounted their comeback.

Isabel Aragon singled past third base as Gonzalez singled to right field and Aragon continued to run and ended up on third base. Next up was Jasmine Heisey who hit a hot smash to first base but the first baseman could not come up with the ball and looked startled to see that Gonzalez was running home to give Roswell a 2-1 lead. The first baseman threw the ball home but Gonzalez was safe as the other runners kept running. It looked like Roswell would do more damage but ended up grounding out to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh-inning, Clovis scored a run to tie the game. In the bottom of the seventh inning, freshman Mirey Grajeda hit a blooper over the second baseman’s head to fall into right field. Clovis’ right fielder came in charging the ball and threw it wildly to first base trying to get Grajeda. The ball went past the dugout and ended up at home plate. Grajeda ended up on second base with no outs.

Mesquita hit the ball to second base for a fielder’s choice, bringing up Patterson. Patterson hit a fly to the right field who timed her catch with her momentum coming into the throw. The right fielder caught the ball and in one motion threw a strike to the catcher as it arrived the same time Grajeda did, but the catcher dropped the ball giving Roswell a 3-2 win and sweep on the night.

“I had not a doubt in my mind,” Roswell coach Art Sandoval said. “We had (hitters) 9,1, 2 coming up and we were going to play for one and that’s what we did. The freshmen came through, seniors know what they’re supposed to do. I actually wasn’t going to send her (Grajeda), because the hit was shallow, but I thought we were in the latter part of the innings. I knew that we had to do what we had to do.”

Roswell plays at home against Hobbs 5 p.m. Friday

 

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