By Dave Wagner
The Clovis Zia League All-Stars broke open a close game with a seven-run sixth inning and defeated Roosevelt County 9-2 Monday night at Beachum Field, advancing to the championship round of the District 3 Major League All-Star tournament.
Ricky Sanchez drove in four runs for Zia, including three on a bases-loaded double in the sixth. Zia led 2-0 going into the inning.
“That helped a little bit,” Zia coach Dewey Patton said of his team’s late eruption. “We came together at the right time. We played as a team tonight.”
Johnny Garcia shut out Roosevelt County on one hit through five innings, but was replaced by Sebastian Flores after giving up singles to Brandon Adkins and Donovan Sanchez to start the sixth. Flores surrendered Roosevelt’s two runs on a wild pitch and Michael Trujillo’s RBI groundout.
Zia faces winners bracket champion Clovis American at 7 p.m. tonight at Dickensen Field in the double-elimination tournament.
On Friday night, Zia lost to Roosevelt County 2-1 in the first round at Portales. Zia then stayed alive with an 11-1 win over Quay County on Saturday, while Roosevelt dropped a 3-2 decision to American.
“It’ll be quite a test, but that’s baseball,” Patton said of the finals. “We’ve played two good teams in Portales and Tucumcari. We’ll just have to see what happens tomorrow.”
Zia scored in the top of the first when Omar Sosa came home on a wild pitch, and made it 2-0 in the third when Ricky Sanchez drove in Sosa from third on an infield single.
Zia sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth, pounding out seven hits. Jacob Romero hit a bases-loaded, two-run single for the first runs of the inning.
Sanchez finished the game 3 for 4, while Sosa, Alex Garcia and Marcus Ricketson all had a pair of hits for Zia. Sosa scored three runs.
Trujillo, who went the first three innings, and Donovan Sanchez combined to hold Zia to two runs on six hits through the first five innings.
“Our kids didn’t quit; they gave it all they had,” Roosevelt County coach Sammy Villaneuva said. “We really didn’t hit the ball well the whole tournament, but our pitching and defense were real consistent.”
Roosevelt County 21, Clovis American 5 (Juniors) — Roosevelt broke open a close game with an eight-run fourth inning to advance to the finals of the District 3 Junior League tournament at Brady Field.
Roosevelt County faces Clovis Zia tonight in the championship round, hoping to force an “if” game on Wednesday. Roosevelt lost its opener to Zia last week, when injuries left the team with eight players and it was forced to forfeit.
Roosevelt coach Joe Gilmore said the start time for today’s game has been moved up to 5:30 p.m.