ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There’s rarely a good time to make errors in a ballgame — and making three in a state playoff game can be costly.
That’s what the Rio Rancho High School softball team found out Thursday afternoon.
The loss sent them into the losers’ bracket — and a loss to No. 10 Oñate that afternoon ended the season for the Rams (10-19).
Cibola 5, Rams 4: Coasting along with a 4-2 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth in a quarterfinal meeting with District 1-5A foe Cibola, the 11th-seeded Rams suddenly imploded.
A two-out single made it a 4-3 game — and second base then dropped a routine popup that allowed the tying run to score.
And after normally sure-handed shortstop BreOnna Castaneda bobbled a grounder in the bottom of the seventh, things got even worse.
Three consecutive singles brought home the winning run, as the No. 3 Cougars’ victory sent them into a semifinal game against Carlsbad, a 15-5 winner over Oñate. Carlsbad then sent the Cougars into the losers’ bracket with a 9-8 win.
Neither team had a hit until the Rams batted in the top of the fourth. Dominique Soto led off with a single to left off Nicole Shack. Castaneda followed with a single to center. Jessie Roane’s single to center sent Soto home for the game’s first run. One out later, Vanessa Gallegos’s sacrifice fly scored Castaneda, and when Jovanni Felix’s grounder to third resulted in a throw that pulled the Cougar first baseman off the bag, Roane made it 3-0.
Roane was absolved of two errors she made: She dropped a routine popup in the fifth and booted a grounder the next inning, but neither runner got beyond second base.
Cibola spoiled the shutout and no-hit bid of Victoria Lopez in the fifth, after she walked the leadoff batter and hit the second batter. A double and a sacrifice fly made it a 3-2 Rams’ lead.
The Rams took a 4-2 lead in the sixth when Castaneda singled with one out, went to second on a groundout and scored on a single by Gallegos.
The Rams threatened to take a bigger lead in the seventh, when Soto popped up with runners at second and third and two down.
Of the Cougars’ five runs, three of them got aboard via walks or being hit by a pitch, and the winning run via error.
It was a tough way to lose, and it sent the Rams into the losers’ bracket.
Oñate 10, Rams 4: Six errors doomed the Rams in their meeting with the Knights, who were out-hit by the Rams, 13-9.
Right after the Rams had tied the game at 3 in the top of the fourth, the Knights scored four runs in the bottom of the fourth and padded their lead two innings later with three more.
Roane and Jordan Manno paced the Rams, each going 3 for 4. Lopez and Victoria O’Meara had two hits apiece. Lopez, who went the distance in the circle in both games, and Gallegos had two errors apiece for the Rams.
It was the final prep game for RRHS seniors Tasia Caldwell and Regan Cormier. Caldwell was 1 for 3 in the loss to the Cougars; Cormier was 0 for 3 in the loss to the Knights.