Zia takes state opener

Clovis Zia shortstop Aadam Anaya unsuccessfully attempts to turn a double play as Raton’s Adrian Serna arrives at second base during their 11 year-old state tournament game Saturday at Beachum Field. Photo by Eric Kluth

By Dave Wagner

Clovis Zia coach Dewey Patton hopes his team got by its New Mexico 11-year-old state Little League tournament opener Saturday night with something less than its best effort.

Zia, which had a bye in Friday’s opening round of the double-elimination event, built an early 8-2 lead before pulling away late for a 13-7 victory over Raton at Beachum Field.

Zia advances to the winners bracket final on Monday against Albuquerque Eastdale, also at Beachum. Eastdale pounded Roswell Lions Hondo 16-2 Saturday night at Dickenson Field in the other winners bracket semifinal.

Raul Trujillo pitched a complete game for Zia, and also contributed two singles and a double to his team’s 12-hit attack. Meantime, Ray Riley and Matthew Encinias each drove in three runs.

“We won, but we had too many errors and we let them back in the game,” Patton said. “Against a quality team like Eastdale, we won’t be able to make those mistakes.”

Riley whacked a two-run homer to left-center in the bottom of the first inning as Zia took a 3-0 lead it would not relinquish.

Raton’s Adrian Serna tripled home two runs in the top of the second, but Zia countered with five in the bottom of the inning on three hits — run-scoring singles by Duncan Lunsford and Aadam Anaya and an RBI fielder’s choice by Riley.

Raton chipped away with single runs in the third and fourth and three in the fifth, capped by Thomas Hattaway’s two-run single.

“We’d be more enthusiastic if we’d come out on top, but we gave the fans a show tonight,” said Raton manager Sam Serna, whose team beat White Rock 9-1 in Friday’s opening round. “I’m proud of all of them, and proud of the fact that we didn’t lay down.”

But Raton reliever Derrick Valdez, who had held Zia in check for a couple of innings, got roughed up in the bottom of the fifth. One run scored on an error, Trujillo and Micheal Cordova delivered RBI doubles and Encinias added a two-run single as Zia batted around.

“This is the way we should’ve been hitting,” Patton said, referring to the District 3 tournament which Zia won. “As long as we can hit like this, we can overcome a lot of things.”

Adrian Serna went 3-for-3 and Valdez added 2-for-3 for Raton, which faces Carlsbad in a 7 p.m. losers bracket game today at Beachum.

Little League
11-year-old state tournament
Friday’s games
Game 1 —
Raton 9, White Rock 1
Game 2 — Roswell Lions Hondo 9, Abq. Enchantment 3
Game 3 — Abq. Eastdale 8, Carlsbad 1
Saturday’s games
Game 4 —
Clovis Zia 13, Raton 7
Game 5 — Eastdale 16, Lions Hondo 2
Game 6 — Carlsbad 13, Enchantment 12
Sunday’s games
Game 7 —
Lions Hondo 22, White Rock 1
Game 8 — Carlsbad 10, Raton 0
Monday’s games
Game 9 —
Zia vs. Eastdale (winners bracket final), 7 p.m., Beachum Field
Game 10 — Lions Hondo vs. Carlsbad, 7 p.m., Dickenson Field
Tuesday’s game
Game 11 —
Game 9 loser vs. Game 10 winner, 7 p.m., Dickenson Field
Wednesday’s game
Game 12 —
Championship game, 7 p.m., Beachum Field
Thursday’s game
Game 13 —
Second championship game, if necessary, 7 p.m., Beachum Field

Winners bracket semifinals
Clovis Zia 13, Raton 7
Raton 021 130 — 7 8 3
Clovis Zia 350 05x —13 12 2
WP — Raul Trujillo. LP — Adrian Serna. Top hitters — Raton: Serna 3-for-3, triple, 3 RBI; Derrick Valdez 2-for-3, double. Zia, Matthew Encinias, 3-for-3, 3 RBI; Trujillo 3-for-4, double, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Aadam Anaya 2-for-3, 3 runs; Ray Riley 1-for-3, home run, 3 RBI.