PNT Staff Report
DEMING — Roosevelt County’s All-Stars got back on the winning track Monday with an 8-4 win over Raton at the 10-11 Little League state championships.
Roosevelt found themselves in a pitching war of attrition Monday against Raton, who they had dispatched easily 18-2 on Saturday. Roosevelt got three innings out of Anthony Villanueva before going through three other pitchers in trying to keep everyone under the 20-pitch count, said coach Sammy Villanueva.
“We kinda through the farm at ‘em today to try and save some of our pitchers for tomorrow,” Sammy 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 over 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, 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.
Roosevelt also got a double and a triple from Alex Villanueva, a double from Luis Valladres and a key single from Adam Hernandez to pace the offensive attack.
Raton kept their 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,” Sammy 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.”
Roosevelt continues their run at the tournament at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when they’ll face the winner of tonight’s Albuquerque Zia vs. Deming game.
The coach says he’s not disheartened by the tougher sailing, saying the team knew it was going to be tough.
“I really feel like we’re one of the top three here,” Sammy 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 tomorrow’s contest even though that will likely retire him for the rest of tournament.