By Dave Wagner
After thoroughly dominating the game, the Roosevelt County 9-10-year-old All-Stars were foiled by Little League rules Monday night.
Roosevelt County beat Clovis American 11-1 in the championship game of the double-elimination District 3 tournament at Beachum Field in a game called after 3 1/2 innings by the 10-run rule.
But American lodged a protest because Roosevelt’s three subs, all of whom entered on defense in the top of the fourth, did not bat at least once as required by national Little League rules. As a result, Roosevelt was forced to forfeit.
Immediately after the game, District 3 administrator Mike Harris called the Little League regional office in Waco, Texas, which in turn called the national office in Williamsport, Pa., for a ruling.
“Nobody likes to win that way, but rules are rules,” American manager Thom Moore said. “You may not agree with it, but that’s the rule as it is.”
American, which put its three subs into the field in the bottom of the third, also had two players who didn’t bat before the game ended. But Harris said Roosevelt manager Randy Lee did not protest that, instead lodging a protest on his team’s behalf because of the shortened run-rule game.
Thus, Roosevelt County was charged with its first loss of the tournament, and the teams will play again at 7 p.m. on Wednesday at Dickenson Field — American’s home park — for the championship.
“We beat them fair and square, but we lost on a technicality,” Lee said. “I didn’t know we were going to 10-run-rule them in the fourth inning.”
Roosevelt outhit American only 5-4 in the game, but erased a 1-0 deficit with six runs in the bottom of the first on five walks, three hit batsmen and a fielder’s choice.
Catcher Raymond Martinez hit a run-scoring groundout in the second, and Roosevelt brought the run rule into play with a four-run third highlighted by Jesus Acosta’s two-run double.
David Rodriguez pitched a four-inning complete game for Roosevelt, striking out five. Dustin Provencio’s single drove in Donavan Johnson with American’s only run in the top of the first.
American reached the finals on Thursday by scoring 10 runs in the top of the first in a 12-1 win over Quay County.
“They put it to us,” Moore said of Roosevelt. “It was kind of the opposite of what happened to us the last game.
“Their pitcher was tough. We started hitting a little bit (late), but I don’t want to take anything away from the way (Roosevelt) played the game tonight.”