Enchantment tops Westgate for district title

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It took extra innings, but the Enchantment Junior All-Stars finally found a way to end their championship game against Westgate, taking a hard-fought 11-10 win to claim the District 9 Junior Little League title Tuesday evening at the Enchantment Little League complex.

Down 10-7 going into the seventh inning, Enchantment scored three runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game 10-10 and extend the game to an extra inning.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: THE ENCHANTMENT JUNIOR All-Stars celebrate and show their Little League District 9 championship banner to supporters Tuesday night after defeating Westgate 11-10 in the district championship game.

In the top of the eighth, Nico Davies singled to begin the inning then scored the winning run on a passed ball. Westgate needed just one run in the bottom of the inning to extend the game, but pitcher Isaiah Martinez shut down the Westgate bats, striking out four in the final two innings as Westgate only got one base-runner on base in that time.

“I had no worries up there (on the mound),” said Martinez. “I knew if (Westgate) hit the ball in play, our defense would step up and make play on the ball.”

Enchantment manager Patrick Ortiz said he was proud of his team, which was tied with Westgate three times in the game before prevailing.

“They fought hard,” Ortiz said. “Westgate came to play but we left it all on the field. It was a terrific game. It’s a shame one team had to lose.”

Westgate opened the game with six runs in the bottom of the first inning with an offensive outburst that had their fans on their feet and Enchantment supporters worried.

But Enchantment responded with six runs of their own in the top of the second to tie the game at 6-6.

Enchantment took a 7-6 lead in the top of the fourth inning on a run by Armando Garcia, but Westgate tied it 7-7 in the bottom of the inning.

Enchantment took a 10-7 lead in the sixth inning but again Westgate responded, tying the game at 10-10 with three runs in the bottom of the sixth, setting up the extra inning.

“We got a big play at shortstop by Joshua (Ortiz) that got the momentum turned and carried us the rest of the game,” said Patrick Ortiz. “Then Isaiah came in to pitch and got us to close out.”

In the championship game, Enchantment finished with seven hits while drawing six walks. Westgate managed 10 hits but stranded 15 runners on base, going scoreless in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings despite having the bases loaded.

The Westgate Junior squad opened the three-team, double-elimination tournament with a 7-6 win over South Valley on Friday, but lost to Enchantment 16-12 on Saturday in a hotly contested game. Westgate then beat South Valley again on Sunday, posting a dominating 15-5 win to set up a rematch with Enchantment.

Enchantment now moves on to the state junior division (ages 12-14) tournament at the Bob Forrest Youth Sports Complex in Carlsbad beginning Friday, July 19. The all-stars take on the winner of the game between the as-yet-unnamed champions from District 2 and District 5 on Saturday, July 20.

The nine-team, double-elimination tournament ends with the championship on Thursday, July 25, and “if game” on Friday, July 26. The state junior division champion moves won’t have far to go as the regional tournament for the junior division is in Albuquerque Aug. 2-6.