SANTA FE, N.M. — By most accounts, Santa Fe was gracious in displaying its brand of Southwestern hospitality while hosting the Southwestern Junior Little League Softball Tournament.
Perhaps too gracious.
That’s because, with the conclusion of Monday’s semifinal contest, also came the end for the remaining New Mexico squad.
The typically hot-hitting All-Stars from Las Vegas, N.M., ran into Texas West right-hander Marli Goolsby, who allowed two runs on four hits during an 8-2 win at the Bicentennial Park.
But despite its earlier-than-expected exit, the New Mexico All-Stars didn’t leave the tourney empty-handed, becoming the first squad from the county seat of San Miguel County to win a regional game with a 12-3 drubbing of a squad from Vidalia, La., on Friday. But after losses on Sunday and Monday, the N.M. All-Stars concludes its season with a record of 32-14.
“We’re usually a strong-hitting team, but today our sticks never came alive,” N.M. coach Michael Quintana said. ” … We just needed a couple more wins, so this hurts.
“But we’ll back next year.” Texas West scored two runs in the first inning and never trailed.
Ashley Gold drove in N.M.’s first run – a sacrifice in the fourth inning to cut the squad’s deficit to 3-1. And after a run by Texas in the top half of the fifth, Kendra Duran recorded an RBI double to conclude the scoring for N.M.
Texas West then added another run in the sixth and three in the seventh to move two wins closer to a first-ever berth to the Junior Softball World Series in Kirtland, Wash., which runs from Aug. 11-17.
Texas West will face Texas East today at 10 a.m. The West squad, which already fell to the East on Friday, 3-1, needs two victories against the only undefeated team in the field to finish first in the double-elimination tournament.
“It was a long way to come,” Texas West coach Matthew Howard said. “And all you can do is worry about one game at a time – tomorrow doesn’t matter if you don’t take care of today.
“So tomorrow, we’ll come out here and attack that first game. If we don’t, that second game won’t mean a whole lot.”
And in all likelihood, the West squad will face the hard-throwing 6-foot-1 Hali Wisnoskie, who held the East to just one hit in the teams’ previous meeting.
“One through 10, we’re all good players and don’t have any weak holes – we’re not hiding any girls out there,” Howard said. ” … We just have one good pitcher to get past. … She’ll try to overpower us. She throws about 58 to 65 miles an hour, and when a girl that size is throwing at you, that’s a lot to deal with.
“But we’re just going to try and put the bat on the ball, and see what happens.”