By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
The Roosevelt County 10-and-11 year-old Little League All-Stars state tournament run ended Tuesday afternoon after losing 4-3 to the Las Vegas All-Stars.
“They’re real disappointed,” Roosevelt County head coach Sammy Villanueva said of his team. “It’s one of those games that you feel you should have won with the way we’ve been playing the last couple of days.”
Villanueva said his kids took this loss hard, because some of the kids may not be back again next year.
“We’ve probably got a couple of kids on this team who are going to move on,” Villanueva said. “So this was pretty tough for the boys.”
The Las Vegas All-Stars scored two runs in each of the first two innings, while shutting out Roosevelt County to take a 4-0 lead into the third inning.
“I wasn’t real worried because the way we hit the ball the past couple of nights,” Villanueva said, “We were putting as many runs on the board as anybody out there, if not more.”
Matt Martinez crossed the plate for Roosevelt County in the bottom of the third inning to narrow the margin to 4-1.
Both teams were held scoreless in the fourth and fifth innings before Roosevelt County rallied for two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to bring them to within one run.
Down by just one run, with two runners on base with one out, Roosevelt County struck out twice to end the game.
“(Las Vegas’) pitcher wasn’t throwing the ball hard, and that’s what we wanted. But we just did not hit the ball,” Villanueva said.
“We didn’t hit really good at all,” Roosevelt County pitcher Eli Tapia said.
Tapia pitched the entire game for Roosevelt County, and after allowing four runs in the first two innings, Tapia pitched four innings of shutout baseball.
“Eli pitched the game for us,” Villanueva said. “He did a really good job pitching tonight. He went the full six and did a real good job. We just didn’t back him up hitting.”
“I wasn’t really ready to pitch in the beginning but then after my team got me ready, I just went out there and started pitching better,” Tapia said.
After taking his fourth straight Roosevelt County All-Star team to state, Villanueva hopes to take his fifth straight next year.
“We’ve just got to regroup and come back next year and do it again.”