PNT Staff Report
DEMING — Roosevelt County got back on the winning track Monday with an 8-4 win over Raton at the 10-11 year-old Little League All-State state tournament.
Roosevelt found itself in a pitching war of attrition Monday against Raton, a team it had dispatched easily 18-2 on Saturday. Portales was sent to the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination tournament on Sunday in a 6-3 loss to Carlsbad.
Roosevelt got three innings out of Anthony Villanueva Monday before going through three other pitchers in trying to keep everyone under the 20-pitch count, Roosevelt coach Sammy Villanueva said.
“We kinda threw the farm at ’em today to try and save some of our pitchers for tomorrow,” Coach Villanueva said. “A lot of kids that haven’t pitched a whole lot in district have gotten a shot up here.”
Under Little League rules a pitcher has to rest one day and one game if they throw more than 20 pitches. A hurler whose pitch count reaches 45 is out for at least two days and one game.
“We started off hitting the ball real well but we were hitting it right at them, Coach Villanueva said.
Roosevelt scored three runs over the first three innings then went up 6-0 in the fourth after a three-run homer by Jay Faust.
Alex Villanueva doubled and tripled, Luis Valladres doubled and Adam Hernandez contributed to a key single to pace the offensive attack.
Raton kept its foot in the door with four runs before Roosevelt was finally able to shut them down despite what the coach said was a lackluster defensive effort.
“They were just a totally different team,” Coach Villanueva said of the Raton team. “We thought we would walk all over them, but they were tough. It just proves that all the teams at the state tournament are really good.”
Against Carlsbad on Sunday, Roosevelt posted the first lead of the game in the third inning after Luis Valladres and Jay Stiles got onboard with base hits. A walk loaded the bases for Roosevelt.
A deep line drive to the outfield by Matt Martinez looked like easy money to Roosevelt but a great play by a Carlsbad outfielder kept the bases loaded, according to Sammy Villanueva.
Josh Jimenez then stepped to the plate to make it 3-0 with a triple.
After starting pitcher Jimenez ran out of pitches after four innings, Carlsbad jumped on his relief Payton Casey. A big fifth inning for Carlsbad left the score tied.
With the score tied in the sixth inning, Carlsbad went ahead 6-3 with a three-run home run.
Roosevelt loaded the bases in their half of the sixth with no outs but the Carlsbad pitching staff stiffened to preserve the lead.
Roosevelt continues its run at the tournament at 6:30 p.m. today when it faces the winner of tonight’s game between Albuquerque Zia and Deming.
“I really feel like we’re one of the top three here,” Coach Villanueva said. “It’s just getting deep in the tournament and everybody’s pitching is so out of whack.”
Roosevelt plans to pin its hopes on ace Alex Villanueva in today’s contest even though that will likely retire him for the rest of tournament.