Isleta All-Stars run ended in tournament

........................................................................................................................................................................................

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.

Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: JONAS JARAMILLO of the Isleta Little League All-Star baseball team delivers a pitch to a South Valley batter during the two teams’ consolation bracket elimination game in the District 9 Major division tournament last week in Los Lunas.Kenn Rodriguez-News-Bulletin photo: JONAS JARAMILLO of the Isleta Little League All-Star baseball team delivers a pitch to a South Valley batter during the two teams’ consolation bracket elimination game in the District 9 Major division tournament last week in Los Lunas.

It was a major factor in their dropping out of the competition.

Isleta fell 8-2 to South Valley in Wednesday’s consolation bracket elimination game at the Enchantment Little League Complex in Los Lunas.

Isleta manger Corey Lucero said South Valley and first game opponent Westgate were the only team her squad hadn’t played.

“These guys have hit against a lot of different pitchers,” said Isleta manager Corey Lucero. “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 rebounded, winning their next two to finish by going the furthest of the four major division teams in the Valencia County area.

After losing to Westgate and dropping to the consolation bracket, Isleta defeated Enchantment 16-12 on Sunday, July 7, then beat Yucca 9-5 on Tuesday, July 9, to set up their elimination game against South Valley on Wednesday, July 10.

Against South Valley, Isleta was unable to get their offense going as they did in wins 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 at 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.

YUCCA MAJORS

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 South Valley again 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 by Mt. Taylor in the first game Friday, July 5.

But Yucca fell 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 Coby Meyers 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.

ENCHANTMENT MAJORS

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 Saturday night against Belen in the consolation bracket.

Enchantment was able to bounce back from a disappointing late-inning loss to Yucca with a come-from-behind win over county rival.

But playing two games in one day took a toll against Isleta on Sunday, July 7. Enchantment built an early lead, only to lose 16-12 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 its toll.”

Even with one win in three outings, Enchantment had several players shine. Infielder Emilio Medrano also had a good two days, committing just one fielding error in three games, while nearly hitting for the cycle at the plate. 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.

BELEN MAJORS
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 Belen All-stars looked like they’d recover from that, racing out to a 9-0 lead on Enchantment in the game later Saturday night.

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 and eliminate Belen from the tournament.

“We had a really bad game but they’re a really good team,” said Belen manager Mario Moreno. “(Our guys) came back but we ran out of pitchers. We used too many pitchers in the first game. But the kids had heart and really battled back.”

Brandon Smith and Richard Craddock 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, SOUTH VALLEY WIN TITLES

The Westgate Little League All-Stars swept South Valley in two games, winning 5-4 and 9-6 in the best two-of-three series to win the 10-11 age division title.

South Valley capped a brilliant run through the consolation bracket, by beating Westgate in two consecutive games.

South Valley won the final “if game” 13-11 as both teams combined to hit eight home runs total.