By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
As Collin Guthas stepped to the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning, a fan yelled, “Just get on base Collin, that’s where you’re most dangerous.”
The fan was right, as Collin’s feet helped the Clovis Zia All-Stars in a come-from-behind 9-8 victory over the Roosevelt County All-Stars in the first round of the New Mexico Little League Majors Division 3 Tournament Thursday night in Portales.
With one out and the score tied at 8, Guthas earned a walk, before stealing second base, pausing for a moment, and then stealing third base. Zia’s next batter, Joe Shelley, connected deep to centerfield for a sacrifice pop fly, allowing Guthas to score the walk-off winning run.
“I called the steal to second,” Zia head coach Charles Lott said. “And then I guess he felt frisky and took third on his own. He did that one on his own. He’s a smart base runner and he did what he had to do.”
“(On my way to third) I was just hoping, “Please be safe, please be safe,” Guthas said. “I knew it was going to be a close play. I wasn’t really watching where the ball was, I just wanted to get to third hoping that Joe could get me in, and that’s what happened.”
“It was a lack of concentration. Our pitcher turned his back on him and the runner took advantage,” Roosevelt County coach Donny Martinez said.
Roosevelt County led 6-3 after the top half of the third inning, and Martinez knows his team can take something from the loss.
“They need to remember that feeling of losing,” Martinez said. “That’s a terrible feeling after being up like we were. We just didn’t hang in there. We lost it because of mental mistakes — just the little things.”
Roosevelt County took an early 2-0 first inning lead after Ryan Schmidt and Jacob Aranda brought in runs, but Zia scored three in their half of the first after a Guthas triple scored two runs, followed by a Shelley RBI double.
Roosevelt County dominated the second and third innings, taking a 6-4 lead, but the Clovis boys began their comeback in the fourth inning as pitcher Michael Cordova brought in a run with a ground rule double. Zia finished the final three innings outscoring Roosevelt County 5-2 to complete the comeback.
Zia will play the Quay County All-Stars Saturday night at Tucumcari in the winners bracket, while the Roosevelt County All-Stars travel to Clovis American in an elimination game tonight.