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Goddard falls in comeback to Portales

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Goddard’s young coach, Katie Shanor, has never let go of her smile in a trying season. She doesn’t seem daunted by going 0-6 during the first round of district play. Shanor feels like it’s not nearly close to being over for the Lady Rockets despite a 15-1 loss in game one and a much more competitive game in game two before losing, 4-2.

Now that Goddard has seen each team once, the real season can begin and it will have to if they are to make the postseason. Goddard will have to run the table and do well in district to have a shot at postseason.

In sports, that’s why they play the games. Shanor knows that all of the teams will overlook them once they play again — but that could be a big mistake as her team is starting to play its best softball. One of the biggest problems is they can’t wait until the second game of a doubleheader to get warmed up and play Goddard softball.

Twice in the successive weeks, Goddard has come back and played the No. 1 team in the state Artesia Lady Bulldogs to a 7-1 loss after being beaten 20-0. On Thursday, Goddard bounced back with a superb pitching and team effort, to come within a hit away from tying the game and perhaps winning against Portales.

“We came out a lot better the second game,” Shanor said. “Which tends to be our turn to come out a little too late. We told them we can’t keep putting zeros up and they got to find a way. We chewed on them and they (team) took it.”

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In the second game, Goddard waited until they had two outs and runners on first and second. Deja Ramirez stepped up and hit an RBI single scoring Kristina Casaus from second base, as Alexis Sandoval moved to third base on the hit. Goddard managed to score when Ramirez stole second base and Portales’ catcher threw the ball to second base trying to get Ramirez as she was called safe, allowing Sandoval to score from third.

“In the second game, they (Goddard) threw that other pitcher (Krishawna Casaus),” Portales coach Nathan Dodge said. “She changed speeds and threw and it was hard to make an adjustment because she threw it so slow. We kept hitting the ball into the ground.”

Goddard had a chance in the seventh inning, but a base runner was thrown out trying to go to second base. Goddard was more aggressive in the second game and found their defense as they turned several hotshots hit at them into outs. They also made the routine play and the spectacular play and finally started to come together as a team. Another reason is that Shanor changed pitchers and threw Krishawna Casaus the whole game. Krishawna Casaus kept the Rams’ batters off-balance and didn’t give up a home run the whole game.

“We threw Krishawna (Casaus),” Shanor said. “She (Krishawna Casaus) is pretty good at moving her ball around. Krishawna Casaus worked.”

As the Lady Rockets continue to gel, look for them to play more competitive as they believe they can win against the higher ranked teams. Shanor smiled when asked about her team and what she told them between games to get them to play better. Shanor noted that she and the coaches told the team they have to play better.

If Goddard can continue to play aggressive, fundamental softball and get enough pitching to get a couple of wins — they could be a dangerous team that no one in 4A wants to face come district tournament time.

All Goddard is lacking is a quality win. If they can get that win, it could ignite a fire and belief in them to turn their whole season around. A big win could carry them into the state tournament. With a close loss to Portales and Artesia, it should be enough to let the Lady Rockets’ know it’s only the beginning and their best softball is ahead of them come district playoffs.

“Our girls fight,” Shanor stated, “I wish they would fight the first game — they’re learning and working. It means a lot when you go and tell them to fix it. God love it, they (team) fixed it.”

Goddard (3-17, 0-6, 4A) will play a doubleheader today at 4:30 p.m., at home against Lovington.