Enchantment Minors win softball title

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The Enchantment Minor All-Stars claimed the District 9 Little League softball championship, defeating the Westgate All-Stars Wednesday, July 3, at the Westgate/Tower Park Pond Complex in southwest Albuquerque.

“It feels really good (to be a champion),” said Wednesday’s winning pitcher, Alex Tenorio. “We had better days the last two days and we just really wanted to win.”

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: COACHES AND PLAYERS from the Enchanted Minor All-Stars show off their championship banner to fans after their 14-3 win over Westgate Little League on Wednesday night, July 3.

The Enchantment All-Stars now move on to the Minor division (ages 9 and 10) state tournament at the Thunderbird fields at Comanche South Park Complex in Albuquerque, where they take on District 4 winners Raton at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Wednesday night’s game was the second win over Westgate in two days for Enchantment. Westgate initially knocked Enchantment from the winner’s bracket of the week-long tournament with a dominating 9-3 victory on Sunday, June 30. But Enchantment won a tight game 5-2 in Tuesday’s championship game to force a second “if game” to end the double-elimination tournament and earn the title.

Enchantment began Wednesday night’s “if game” the same way it began Tuesday’s Championship game – by spotting Westgate a 2-0 first inning lead.

But instead of getting spooked by the mistakes that gave Westgate its two unearned runs, Enchantment came out and scored eight runs in the top of the second inning, taking advantage of six walks issued by Westgate starter Monique Montes.

“It’s rough to see a young girl get shook up like that but we had some shakeups ourselves, so it happens,” manager Gabe Sanchez said. “Our bats caught on fire and our pitching stayed good. Alex pitched a great game.”

Montes walked in three runs before Tenorio singled to bring in Jayleen Vargas and Emma Davids to make the score 5-2.

Enchantment’s next scoring burst was started in the top of the third inning when Kaytelyn Vialpando stole second base then scored on a throwing error. Davids and Tenorio added runs as well to put Enchantment up 11-2.

Westgate got its only earned run in the bottom of the third when Arianna Griego scored from third on a blooper single by Montes who was picked off at second by shortstop Kendall Ostler to end the inning and kill the rally.

In the top of the fourth inning, Enchantment got runs from Ostler, Vargas and Thalia Aragon, who all scored on passed balls.

Tenorio, who started on the mound for Enchantment, then struck out two and got one batter to ground out to end the game by the mercy rule in the fourth inning. Tenorio finished with a two-hitter, throwing seven strikeouts.

“We knew we had to pick it up (today) to win,” said Ostler. “We got down but we knew we could rally back.”

Held scoreless for three innings, Enchantment came on quickly like the wind gusts that began to rake the Westgate fields in the top of the fourth inning.

Taking advantage of walks issued by Westgate ace pitcher Alyssa McCursten, Enchantment broke through when Elasha Fiquet slapped a single to right field to bring in Ostler. Fiquet then scored on a passed ball from third on the next at-bat to tie the game 2-2.

In the deciding fifth inning, Aleksandra Sanchez reached base on an error then scored the winning run off a single by Tenorio. Tenoiro scored two at-bats later and Ostler finished the scoring on the same play, stealing home right behind her.

Westgate got two base runners on in the top of the sixth inning with one out. But one runner got picked off at third and Ostler, who pitched the entire game for Enchantment, got the final batter to strike out to end the game. Ostler finished with six strikeouts of the game, including three in a row in the top of the fourth with two batters to end a Westgate scoring threat.

“It felt good to win,” said Ostler. “When you’re the starting pitcher, you know everyone has your back.”