Clovis American right fielder Justin Graham, 10, comes up short as he dives for a fly ball during their game against Roosevelt County All Stars Wednesday at Beachum Field. CNJ photo by Eric Kluth.
By Dave Wagner
Clovis American took advantage of 13 walks, a hit batsman and four errors to pound Roosevelt County 20-2 on Wednesday in the first round of the District 3 11-year-old Little League all-star tournament at Beachum Field.
Justin Graham drove in four runs with a bases-loaded triple in the first and a bases-loaded walk in the second for American, which had nine hits in a game called after 3 1/2 innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.
American will face Clovis Zia at 7 p.m. Saturday in the three-team, double-elimination tournament. The loser of that game takes on Roosevelt County at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Dickensen Field.
“We figured it was going to be a close game, but we had a lot of things that went our way tonight,” American manager Andy Cox said. “And we hit the ball well.”
Graham’s triple sparked a six-run first for American. Roosevelt County pulled to 6-2 in the second when Luis Ortiz was hit by a pitch and Brandon Richards walked to force in runs, but Amercan erupted for eight more in the bottom of the second keyed by two-run doubles from Jared Allen and Morgan Gomez.
Trent Barclay had a two-run single in American’s six-run third.
“They’re better than that; I don’t know what you can say,” Roosevelt County manager Jerry Rodriguez said of his squad. “Our pitchers weren’t throwing the ball well, and our errors killed us.
“(American) came to play. I don’t think our kids were ready, but we’re better than that.”
Jared Allen pitched the final 2 2/3 innings in relief for American, allowing just one hit. American shortstop Seth Zarate, who walked in all four trips to the plate, turned a 6-3 double play to end the game.
Roosevelt County 14, Zia 0 (Majors) — At Rotary Park in Portales, Roosevelt County finished off a rain-delayed blowout, with Chet Chenault and Shawn Carrasco combining for a four-inning shutout in a 14-0 win.
The game resumed from Monday night, with Roosevelt leading 10-0 in the third inning. The teams needed just 30 minutes to play the remainder of the game, thanks to the mercy rule.
Roosevelt County will play American, which beat Quay County 20-0 on Tuesday at Tucumcari, at 7 p.m. on Friday at Beachum Field.
“Fourteen runs, and they’re having a lot of fun,” Roosevelt coach Sammy Villanueva said. “We’ve got a tough game Friday, but I’ve stressed heart and hustle all year long.”
Zia managed just a pair of walks against Roosevelt County, and the weather delay only served to delay the inevitable.
“We knew we were in trouble when we were heading back home last night,” Zia coach Bob Walley said. “We came out flat last night and we were out of gas tonight.”