Minor softball: Belen, Enchantment paths cross


The host team will compete in the championship round of the District 9′s Little League Minor division tournament at Westgate Little League.

Their opponent will be from Valencia County.

Jason W. Brooks-News-Bulletin photo: Alyssa Jaramillo of the Belen Minors all-star softball team slides into home plate safely Saturday, as the throw never gets to Westgate’s Alicia Rosales. Belen split its first two games of the District 9 tournament before a dramatic win over South Valley on Monday, and was set to face Enchantment in an elimination game late Tuesday.

Enchantment and Belen each ended up in the lower half of the bracket after their first two games, and were set to face each other in an elimination game Tuesday after News-Bulletin press time. The winner will face Westgate at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the WGLL fields.

Only one team from District 9 will advance to the Minors state tournament, set to begin July 20 at Albuquerque’s Roadrunner Little League. If Westgate beats either Belen or Enchantment on Wednesday, Westgate wins the district title, but if the hosts lose, a special “if” game will be scheduled. No time or date for that game has been announced.

Friday, Belen opened the tourney by pounding Gallup, 12-1, but on Saturday, Westgate sent BLL to the elimination side with an 11-1 defeat. Enchantment got by South Valley 10-6 on Saturday, but lost 7-4 to Westgate in Sunday’s winner’s bracket final.

The Westgate fields are on the southeast corner of 86th Street and Tower Road. The District 9 baseball tournaments will be held at South Valley Little League, on N.M. 314 in Albuquerque, and will begin Friday.

Belen 11, South Valley 9

After both teams had suffered disappointing losses over the weekend, the two teams met in an elimination game Monday, with Belen getting all the runs it needed in the first three innings.

Mike Stearns-News-Bulletin photo: Enchantment Minors baserunner Mya Fliss beats the throw to third base during Saturday’s win over South Valley. Enchantment split its weekend games of the District 9 tournament and was set to face Belen in an elimination game Tuesday after News-Bulletin press time.

The teams traded three-run frames in the first two innings, with a three-run home run from Belen’s Alyssa Jaramillo accounting for her team’s first-inning scoring.

With the game tied 6-6, Belen unloaded for five runs in the top of the fourth. Juliana Garrett led off with a triple, and a two-run homer from Serenity Salinas aided the effort that put Belen up 11-6.

However, neither team could do much for the next few innings. Belen looked tentative at the plate, but fortunately, BLL relief pitcher Carly Telles was magnificent.

Telles, who took over for starter Rose Castillo in the bottom of the third, pitched three-plus shutout innings against a scrappy South Valley lineup. She struck out five batters, and kept her team ahead until Jayden Gandert got the final three outs in the sixth to end the game.

“Rose is our pitcher that can really find the plate, and we expected them to hit her a little bit, but Carly is our hardest thrower,” said Belen manager Dave Castillo. “When she’s on, no one can hit her.”

Telles pitched into the sixth and final inning, but that’s when a fired-up South Valley flurry made the ending more dramatic. A hit batsman, an infield error and a two-run triple made it 11-8 with no one out, and Telles was replaced with Gandert.

She got a comebacker for the first out, and after a run-scoring single made it 11-9, a line drive went right to the first baseman for the second out. The next batter was one of South Valley’s top sluggers, Angelica Ortiz.

With a noisy crowd chanting “Rally! Rally! Let’s go, South Valley!”, Gandert made some gutsy pitches, getting Ortiz looking for the final out. The last pitch appeared to be either high or outside, but the home plate umpire had a large strike zone most of the game.

“Jayden was chosen as out captain, because she’s the most intense, and she’s a leader,” said Castillo.

The manager also gave much credit for the team’s development to coach Jonathan Gandert, who he says prepares the team in so many ways.

“It took a lot of heart for this team to win today,” said Castillo. “We controlled most of the game, but a couple of hits down the lines happened late, but we kept it together.”

Westgate 7, Enchantment 4

Enchantment had a tough time getting the offense going on Sunday in the winner’s bracket final, ending up in the lower bracket with the tough loss.

Trailing 2-0 in the top of the second inning, Kiley Perez scored the first of her three runs during the contest when she reached on a triple and scored on an Audie Sanchez’s single.

With Westgate leading 2-1, the hosts added three runs in the bottom of the third. A bad throw on a stolen base attempt led to two Westgate runners scoring.

Enchantment got a run in the fourth on an inside-the-park home run by Perez, and had a chance to tie the game in the top of the fifth. Emma Davids scored on Mya Fliss’ singles.

With runners on second and third, the next three batters struck out, and Westgate still led 5-3.

The host team added two runs in the bottom of the fifth to put the game away. Perez scored her final run in the sixth when she walked and stole second, and scored on Davids’ single accounting for the 7-4 final.

Enchantment 10, South Valley 6

Sanchez struck out 11 batters Saturday as Enchantment took the lead midway through its tourney opener.

It looked like it would be a tough contest early as South Valley raced out to a 3-0 lead after the top of the first. Enchantment responded with two runs in the bottom of the inning.

Enchantment took the lead for good in the second inning, scoring three runs to take a 5-3 lead.

“Aryanna (Audie) did very well,” said coach Gilbert Perez of the pitching effort. “We had good pitching and I think that is the longest that I have ever seen her go on the mound.”

Sanchez truck out nine batters in the second through fifth innings. She also caught a pop up to the mound to end the second inning, and retired the side in order in both the second and third innings.

“It gave us confidence as a team and confidence as coaches. The confidence should make us stronger,” said coach Perez of the opening round win. “It is a good run for us, right now. I just hope we can keep it going.”

Enchantment added three runs in the fourth inning to take an 8-4 lead. The big hit in the inning was Perez’s two-RBI single.

South Valley scored twice in the top of the fifth to narrow the lead to 8-6.

Enchantment responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Fliss doubled and then scored on Kylee Trujillo’s single. Trujillo came home on a throwing error to give Enchantment a 10-6 edge.

Pitcher Nikki Cook retired South Valley in the top of sixth recording two strikeouts and only facing four batters.

Belen 12, Gallup 1 (4 inn.)

In Friday’s first-round game, four runs by Belen in the top of the first inning helped BLL roll to an easy mercy-rule win.

Belen got five runs in the first, another in the second and six more in the fourth. The fourth inning was highlighted by a line drive from Lauren Klimkowski that got past the outfielders, and she rounded the bases for a two-run homer.

Westgate 11, Belen 1 (4 inn.)

Saturday, Westgate sent Belen to the lower half of the bracket with a mercy-rule decision.

Westgate, which had a bye in the first round, took advantage of Belen walks and some defensive miscues. The hosts scored a run in the first inning, three more in the second, four in the fourth and three in the fifth.

It wasn’t until the top of the fifth inning that the Belen team got its only hit in the contest: an infield single from Alyssa Jaramillo on a line drive that went off the glove of the Westgate first baseman. Jaramillo later stole third base and scored Belen’s only run of the game on a passed ball.

Jayden Gandert, who walked and stole second base in the fourth inning before being stranded, was Belen’s only other baserunner of the game. Gandert, Serenity Salinas and Cheyanne Wells all pitched, but each one had trouble finding the plate.

Westgate could have ended the game in the fourth inning by mercy rule, but the Belen defense made a couple of sharp plays, as it did in other frames as well.

The game ended on an error when Westgate’s Ariana Montoya, who had walked, came all the way around from first on a catcher’s pickoff attempt that rolled down into the right-field corner.

-- Email the author at jbrooks@news-bulletin.com.