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Rams remain No. 1 after winning own tournament

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Junior Kendra Levesque’s second home run in last Saturday’s championship game of the annual Kristin Griego Memorial Tournament at the Eagle Ridge softball complex, a three-run walk-off shot, gave the No. 1 Rams the tourney title for the seventh time.

Earlier in the Rams’ 9-8 win over Carlsbad, Levesque had whacked a solo homer. Her game-winner was the team’s 15th in the five-game event, which earlier had included — in order — a 13-8 victory over Capital, a 15-1 rout of Goddard, an 11-6 triumph over Farmington and a 15-0 throttling of Piedra Vista.

In the big win over the Cavewomen, RRHS coach Paul Kohman said, “We were tied till top of (the fifth inning), then they scored three runs. We scored in the bottom of the sixth to go up by one. (In the seventh), they scored three — our kids did not truly swing the bats hard until the sixth inning, because that’s when it changed.”

Gabby McCoy led off the bottom of the seventh with a hit and Briana Martinez walked; Levesque was down in the count, 0-1, and then swung at the next pitch.

“It was at her shoulders — she did a terrific job of keeping her hands up,” Kohman said.

Levesque was named the tournament’s MVP.

“When we had to come up with MVP and all-tourney players, we picked the ones with the highest batting averages,” he said. “(Brianna) Gallegos had seven home runs.”

Three of those came in the Rams’ 11-6 victory over Farmington; through the first 16 games, Gallegos had swatted a team-high 10 bombs.

“It was a total team effort,” Kohman added, listing Gallegos, McCoy and the Martinez sisters, Savana and Briana, as the all-tournament Rams.

“The kids are doing a great job; we’re closer to where we were last year, as far as hitting the ball,” he said. “We hit 15 home runs this weekend — that’s pretty incredible for five games. It’s fun to see them getting to their potential.”

Bunts: The Rams opened their District 1-5A season with a 15-12 victory over newcomer Atrisco Heritage Academy on Tuesday evening, the Rams’ 16th victory in 17 games. The Martinez sisters and Levesque each hit home runs; Briana Martinez was 4 for 4 and drove in six runs, while Savana Martinez, McCoy and Levesque added three hits apiece.

… With back-to-back tournament championships in the APS Metros and the Griego, it’s no surprise the Rams are No. 1 in the coaches poll for the second week in a row.

… The Rams have two district games this week: Tuesday at 4 they’re home to meet Cibola; on Friday they’re at Cleveland in a 6 p.m. contest.

… The Rams hosted what had been called the Rio Rancho Invitational until naming it in honor of the late Kristin Griego, a former Ram, in 2004. RRHS also won Griego titles in 2006, ’10 and ’13-16

… Cleveland High School (8-7), ranked seventh this week, split its four games in the Griego tournament: The Storm beat Bernalillo 6-0, lost a 17-0 meeting with Los Lunas, fell to Albuquerque High in eight innings, 12-5, and then edged Farmington, 1-0.

… The Storm opened their 1-5A slate at Cibola on Friday. This week, they’re home for two 6 p.m. games: Tuesday vs. Volcano Vista and Friday vs. Rio Rancho.

Rams senior shortstop Briana Martinez fouls off a pitch. Read all about Martinez, who’ll play for the Lobos next season, ONLY in the Sunday, April 7, edition of the Observer. (Newspaper hard copy)