By Eric Butler
With more changes of direction than a game of Twister, the American Yankees of Clovis finally won the Tri-County Tournament championship game with a thrilling 15-14 victory over the Roosevelt County Diamondbacks.
Trailing 14-12, heading into the bottom of the sixth inning Saturday night, the Yankees made the most of their last at-bat.
After the first two batters were retired, the Yankees got a triple from Jose Posada to stay alive. Then, Lucas Walthers belted a two-run homer to dead center — a blast that careened off a light pole — to tie the game.
After Lane Drake was hit by a pitch, Mario Posada’s double to right-center to score Drake for the winning run.
“I tell you what, I’ve got a great bunch of kids,” Yankees’ coach Tom Drake said. “To come back the way they did, that just shows you how much game they’ve got in it.”
The last deficit the Yankees overcame was, by no means, the biggest of the night for the Clovis club.
After the Diamondbacks rallied for eight runs in the third inning, Roosevelt County found itself with a commanding 10-1 lead. In that rally, the D-Backs got doubles from Iszak Valdez, Lathan Lieb and Brandon Adkins as well as a two-run triple from Joe Sandoval.
“We thought we were going to lose, because we were down so bad,” said Walthers about his team’s attitude on the bench when down 10-1.
The Yankees got one run back in the third when Chris Potocki doubled home Mario Posada.
In the fourth, still trailing 10-2, the Yankees started a nine-run rally with a walk by Jose Posada. Lane Drake, Josh Potocki, Miguel Vega all registered RBI-singles later that inning – with was capped by a three-run, bases-loaded single by Walthers to put the Yanks up 11-10.
Roosevelt County immediately answered with a two-run homer by Sandoval in the fifth for a 12-11 Diamondbacks lead.
That was countered in the bottom of the fifth by a single Yankees’ run to tie the game.
In the top of the sixth, just prior to the last Yankees’ comeback, the Diamondbacks went up on a two-run single by Andrew Villaneuva.
“They gave it all they got. They played hard and went a lot further than a lot of people in this town thought they would,” said D-Backs manager Sammy Villanueva, Andrew’s father. “They ain’t got nothing to be ashamed of.”