Dist. 9 LL Majors: Isleta bounces Yucca, Enchantment before losing to South Valley
LOS LUNAS – A lack of familiarity with their opponent helped drop the Isleta Major All-Stars into the consolation bracket of the District 9 Little League baseball tournament. And it was a major factor in their dropping out of the competition as Isleta fell 8-2 to South Valley in Wednesday’s consolation bracket elimination game at the Enchantment Little League Complex in Los Lunas.
“These guys have hit against a lt of different pitchers,” said Isleta manager Corey Lucero. “I think the thing was that South Valley was one of two teams we hadn’t played. The difference today was they came in scared like they did against Westgate (on Friday).”
Isleta started their tournament run with a crushing 11-1 loss to Westgate on Saturday, July 6. But the 11 and 12 year olds from Isleta ended up being going the furthest of the four major division teams in the Valencia County area by winning their next two over
Isleta had won two in a row, defeating Yucca Little League 9-5 on Tuesday and Enchantment 16-12 after being dropped into the consolation bracket of the double-elimination tournament by Westgate, which beat the Isleta squad 11-1 on Saturday, July 6.
Against South Valley, Isleta was unable to get their offense going as they did in wins over Yucca and Enchantment earlier in the tournament and South Valley pitcher Adam Sanchez kept Isleta’s batters hitless until the fifth inning.
South Valley scored one run each in the first and second innings then blew the game open with a four-run third inning keyed by Diego Pavia’s two-run home run.
Isleta looked to mount a rally in the top of the fifth inning, getting singles from Nathan Prio and Louis Lente, who each scored in the inning to score Isleta’s only runs. But the rally was ended on a pick off a home plate two batters later.
South Valley added runs in the bottom of the fourth and fifth innings to increase the lead to 8-2 going into the top of the sixth and final inning. Isleta managed to get two men on base but got a man in a run down for the third and final out.
Isaiah Chavez, Dylan Lucero and Douglas Armijo, who got Isleta rallies going in several games, were among the team’s leaders on and off the field, said Lucero.
Isleta finished 15-2 in the regular season said Lucero and 2-2 in the district tournament.
The Yucca Major All-Stars’ best game in the District 9 tournament came in their opener, a thrilling 10-9 win over Enchantment on Saturday, July 6. But as they did against Belen and Isleta, South Valley got strong pitching and plenty of offense to overwhelm Yucca 14-2 on Sunday, July 7.
Yucca dropped into the consolation bracket and got a day off due to a forfeit in the first game Friday, July 5, by Mt. Taylor Little League’s major all-stars.
But Yucca would fall 9-5 to Isleta in a tight, close game on Tuesday, July 9 to end their tournament run at 1-2.
“In the second inning they scored seven points on us and that killed us,” said Yucca manager Adrian Garcia. “We had two errors. We just couldn’t hit the ball today. I believe this whole tournament our defense kept us in it but today the hitting wasn’t there. But I’m proud of the boys. This is the best Yucca has done in a while.”
Not getting runners home turned out to be a big bugaboo for Yucca. The all-stars managed to load the bases twice against South Valley but came away with no runs. The same thing happened against Isleta, dooming Yucca to a loss.
Yucca was led by CobyMeyers and Deaven Garcia, who led both with pitching and good hitting, said Garcia, as did Alex Romero, who finished with five runs scored for the tournament.
The Enchantment Major All-Stars played all three of their tournament games in roughly 28 hours, a quirk in the schedule that saw them play at 9 a.m. on Saturday, July 6 against Yucca then again at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night against Belen in the consolation bracket.
Enchantment was able to bounce back from their disappointing late-inning loss to Yucca with a come-from-behind win over county rival Belen, playing two games in one day took its toll as Enchantment built an early lead against Isleta on Sunday, July 7, only to lose 16-12 to Isleta after Iselta managed a late inning rally.
“Comebacks take so much out of a ball club,” said Enchantment manager Rick Baros. “We came back against Yucca and finished one run short. We play Saturday night and come back, but three games in 24 hours – I think that took it’s toll.”
Even with one win in three outings, Enchantment has several who shinned. Catcher Oscar Morales had a great tournament, said Baros, as did his son, Zach Baros, who kept Belen at bay with his late inning pitching Saturday night. Infielder Emilio Medrano also had a good two days, committing just one fielding erro in thre games while nearly hitting for the cycle at the plate.
The Belen Major All-Stars were the first team to face South Valley, which hung an ugly 28-2 loss on Belen on the morning of Saturday, July 6. But the all-stars looked like they would recover from that, racing out to an 9-0 lead on Enchantment in the game later Saturday night. But by the end, Belen’s hopes faded into the darkness Saturday night as Enchantment rallied, scoring eight runs in the final two innings to earn a 14-12 win to eliminate Belen from the tournament.
“We had a really bad game but they’re a really good team (South Valley),” said Belen manager Mario Moreno. “(Our guys) came back but we ran out of pitchers. We used to many pitchers in the first game. But the kids had heart and really battled back.”
Brandon Smith and Richard Cradock both scored two runs in the tournament, one in each game, while Nate Olguin and Kyle House each scored two runs against Enchantment.
Craddock also pitched well against Enchantment, allowing just two runs in three innings of work.
“It was good defense, our pitcher was great and they were into it,” said Moreno. “They just had a lot more pitchers than us.”
WESTGATE WINS 10-11 TITLE
The Westgate Little League All-Stars swept South Valley in two games in the best two-of-three series for the 10-11 age devision title. Westgate defeated South Valley 5-4 in nine innings Friday night then beat them again 9-6 to claim the 10-11 championship.