Isleta Seniors earn repeat with sweep

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The Isleta Senior All-Stars earned their second consecutive District 9 softball title Sunday afternoon, but their opponents from Mt. Taylor Little League of Laguna Pueblo did not make it easy on them.

Kenn Rodriguez- News-Bulletin photo: ISLETA SENIOR softball team members run around the bases carrying their championship banner after beating Mt. Taylor Little League 7-5 in the District 9 championship game Sunday afternoon in the best 2-of-3 format tournament.

Isleta, the host team for the tournament, won game one easily, taking a mercy-rule shortened 10-0 win over Mt. Taylor in extremely hot conditions at the Isleta Little League Fields.

“It was a little bit of a battle there,” said Isleta manager Theresa Wilson. “Our hitting was a little bit flat (today). It took us a while to get going (in both games). But I was pretty confident we’d pull through in the end.”

The two teams joined battle again after a short 20-minute break, and an early 3-1 lead on Mt. Taylor looked to be headed for an upset of an Isleta team.

But Isleta rallied late, scoring five runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take a 7-5 win and advance to the New Mexico State Senior Softball Little League Tournament, which will be hosted at the Isleta Little League complex from Saturday, July 12, through Wednesday, July 16.

Marissa Weldon kicked off the scoring with a run for Isleta in the first inning of the deciding game two on Sunday.

But Mt. Taylor took advantage of a pair of walks in the top of the second inning to score two runs. Another walk resulted in a run in the third inning for Mt. Taylor as they took a 3-1 lead.

Isleta got one run back when Rebecca Lente scored in the bottom of the third, but Mt. Taylor answered with another run in the top of the fifth to take a 4-2 lead.

Isleta tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when Estella Salinas hit a two-run RBI, scoring Kimberly Logan and Gloria Zuni.

Isleta took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth when Weldon singled to bring in Amber Zuni. Weldon and Gloria Zuni scored two at bats later when Briana Mariano singled to give Isleta a 7-4 lead.

Mt. Taylor got a run back in the top of the seventh by loading the bases then getting a walk, but pitcher Deidra Zuni struck out the final batter to end the game and the threat.

“Diedre struggled a bit but she came through. We just told her, ‘You’ve got good defense behind you.’ And she was able to close out.”