By Eric Butler: CNJ correspondent
RIO RANCHO — After splitting in Friday’s first two rounds of Rio Rancho’s 16-team Kristin Griego Memorial Tournament, concerns about Friday’s wicked weather back home took precedence for the Clovis High softball team.
The Lady Wildcats, scheduled to play twice on Saturday, opted to return to Clovis early Saturday morning.
“A couple of the kids’ homes were messed up,” Lady Cats coach Brandi Thomas said Saturday afternoon. “My girls were pretty distraught last night, and they just wanted to come home.”
All were relieved to find out no one was injured in the storms. Thomas said the situation “helped us come together as a team.”
On Friday, the Lady Cats (6-5) defeated Las Vegas Robertson 10-5 in the opening round, then lost to La Cueva 9-0 in a quarterfinal matchup shortened to five innings by the eight-run rule.
Ironically, it was a former Clovis resident who helped silence the Lady Cats in the latter contest.
Bears sophomore pitcher Lauren Goldfarb shut down the Lady Cats on one hit — a single by Maria Gallegos in the first inning. Goldfarb struck out 12 batters in her five innings of work.
Last year, Goldfarb was a freshman at St. Pius and was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in one of her legs. Recently, she had her last scheduled chemotherapy treatment and has been able to play with the Bears from the beginning of the softball season.
“She used to live in Clovis,” Thomas said, “It’s kind of bittersweet.
“We faced the Cibola pitcher (sophomore Missy Martinez) down in Las Cruces. But, by far, I think (Goldfarb) is the better pitcher.”
In the opening round, Clovis rallied from a 2-0 deficit with three runs in the bottom of the second. Robertson tied the game in the top of the third, but the Lady Cats tallied three more in the bottom of the frame for a 6-3 lead.
Brittany Mascarenas hit a pair of doubles for Clovis, driving in one run, while Sonia Chavez added a pair of hits.
“We took a real tough loss to Artesia on Tuesday,” said Thomas, who was pleased her squad could get into the upper half of the bracket. “We had long practices during the week and it was a positive thing for us to get over that hump.
“I knew if we got past Robertson, we would face La Cueva. I knew there was no ifs, ands or buts about it — and I knew their pitcher was good.”