South Valley stars end title hopes for county teams
The Enchantment Minor All-Stars started the District 9 Little League tournament with a thrilling, 9-8 extra-inning win over South Valley.
But South Valley had the last laugh, ending Enchantment’s tourney run Tuesday, July 9 with a 10-4 win at the Enchantment Little League complex in Los Lunas.
In fact, the Bernaillo County-based team played a hand in eliminating all three Valencia County teams from the competition.
After being bounced to the consolation bracket with their 9-8 loss on Saturday, July 6, South Valley dispatched county teams in three consecutive games on their way to the championship game.
Though South Valley lost to Westgate 7-3 in that game, their run through the consolation bracket was one for the books.
After falling to Enchantment, South Valley dispatched Yucca Little League 10-0 on Sunday, July 7, dominated Belen 13-1 on Monday night and then avenged their earlier loss to Enchantment with a 10-4 win on Tuesday, July 9
Against South Valley in Tuesday’s consolation elimination game, Enchantment took an early 3-1 lead, but South Valley scored eight runs in the last two innings to eliminate Enchantment.
“A couple of breaks went their way and they capitalized on a couple of errors we made,” said Enchantment manager Marcus Gallegos. “We just dug a hole we couldn’t climb out of.”
The elimnation game was set up by Enchantment’s 15-5 loss to eventual tournament champs Westgate on Sunday, July 7.
Against South Valley, Enchantment got runs from Lorenzo Wright, JoJo Perea, Emilio Mora, and Zach Vigil and all three played a big part in Enchantment’s competitive performance in the tournament along with Ryan Riekert and Jaiden Baros.
Belen’s high point for the tournament came on Friday night, July 5, when the All-Stars were able to earn a win in the late inning over Yucca Little League, winning 16-13. But the runs did not come the next day as eventual tournament champions Westgate out-scored Belen 11-1 to knock them into the consolation bracket.
Belen then met up with South Valley on Monday, July 8, and was again held to just one run as South Valley earned a 13-1 win to eliminate Belen.
“I just told them ‘It’s just like any old baseball game’ and not to come in so frazzled,” said Belen manager Matt Castillo. “But some came and got ahead of themselves (tonight). I wish we could have hit a little better but we had a heck of a bunch of players.”
Against Yucca Friday night, Belen fell behind early and trailed 13-10 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, where they scored eight runs then got Yucca to go 3-up, 3-down in the top of the sixth to end the game.
Diego Cordova scored three runs for Belen for the tournament, two against Yucca and the lone run against South Valley. Diego Chavez scored a pair of runs for Belen against Yucca as did Louis Nuesinger while Dereck Estep scored Belen’s lone run against Westgate. Brendan Castillo and Colton Gonazlez also contributed to the team’s efforts, Castillo said.
The Yucca Minor All-Stars played Belen extremely close in their opening game on Friday, July 5, losing by just 16-13 runs but fell to a very good South Valley squad 10-0 on Saturday, July 6, ending their District 9 tournament hopes.
“We came up a little flat,” said Yucca manager Wayne Dominguez. “They were down a little bit from the game Friday. But like I told the boys, this is sports, there’s got to be a winner and there’s got to be a loser. But I wouldn’t trade my boys for anyone.”
Yucca led 5-2 after two innings Friday night, but Belen scored 12 runs in the final three innings to take the win.
Julio Romero scored three runs against Belen as did shortstop Jordan Arballo. Ryan Clark, Christopher Benavidez and William Kline all scored two runs as well.
“Our effort Friday was excellent,” said Dominguez. “We just had one bad inning.”