Dave Wagner: Freedom Writer
CLOVIS — Clovis Zia clawed its way back from a slow start Thursday night.
Still, as the visiting team on its home field, it couldn’t hold off Roosevelt County, which pushed over the winning run in the bottom of the sixth for a 9-8 victory in the championship game of the District 3 Little League 9-10 division tournament at Beachum Field.
Jeremiah Beaman’s two-run single tied the score in the top of the inning, but Roosevelt came back after being blanked for three innings by Zia’s third pitcher of the night, Peyton Lott. Isiah Alvarado’s infield single with the bases loaded and no one out, his fourth RBI of the game, drove in Nate Salas with the game-winner.
Pitcher Lane Carrasco worked 1-2-3 innings in the first, third and fourth for Roosevelt, but Zia reached him for four runs on three hits in the second, then erased an 8-4 deficit with two-run innings in the fifth and sixth.
With runners at second and third and still only one out in the top of the sixth, Carrasco struck out the next two hitters to keep the game tied.
“Lane pitched a great game for us,” said Roosevelt coach Sammy Villanueva, whose team begins play in the state 9-10 tournament next Friday at Carlsbad. “This is an awesome bunch of kids. It was just a team effort.
“Both these teams deserved this thing — Zia did a great job.”
Zia starter J.J. Villanes nearly pitched out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first, but Roosevelt scored five runs after two were out on two run-producing walks, an RBI single by Daniel Hernandez and a two-run single by Alvarado.
Zia got a run-scoring triple from Bruce Lamb, a two-run single by Dakotah Yandell and an RBI single from Tyler Romero to close to 5-4 in the second, but Roosevelt added three runs in the bottom half for an 8-4 lead.
Run-scoring singles by Villanes and Kendall Naceanceno in the fifth pulled Zia to 8-6.
Salas led off the Roosevelt sixth with a line drive single to right and came around on an infield hit, an error and Alvarado’s infield hit down the third base line.
“We couldn’t expect our kids to play any harder,” Zia coach Dewey Patton said. “We just had a couple of mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes against good teams.”
Roosevelt County lost to Zia 16-15 in a seesaw game on Saturday night in Portales, but forced a second championship game in the double-elimination tournament with an 11-1 victory on Tuesday.